Dr Harold Charles James Ball

Personal Details

Family name: 
Given name(s): 
Harold Charles James
Date of birth: 
Date of death: 
Place of birth: 
Reigate, Surrey

Education and Qualifications

General education: 

Weymouth College; Trinity College, Dublin and St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s): 


Initial Fellowship and type: 

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship: 
Other qualification(s): 

DA(RCP&S), 1947

Professional Life and Career

Postgraduate career: 

After qualifying, Dr Ball went to south China as a medical missionary, returning to Britain in 1927 when he set up in practice in Kent, moving to Barton-on-Sea in 1937. After WW2 he pursued his interest in anaesthesia, and was one of the first to take the ‘two-part’ DA examination. He retired from general practice in 1948, working as a consultant anaesthetist in Southampton from 1950-63.

Professional interests and activities: 

Interested in local and epidural anaesthesia he was a pioneer in the treatment of intractable pain, introducing the concept of the pain clinic to Southampton as early as 1954 and writing (with Dr Douglas Pierce) a paper on the use of therapeutic nerve blocks in 1964. Skilled in the management of children, he was a popular dental anaesthetist, work he continued after his formal retirement.

Other biographical information: 

Before studying medicine Ball volunteered for service in the Artists’ Rifles during WW1. He was badly ‘gassed’ in France in 1917, and took part in the Archangel Campaign in Russia in 1918. He married his wife, Kate (also a medical missionary) in China, and she joined him in practice on their return. They had a son, Peter, a physician who became Dean of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, and three daughters. Even after retirement and the death of his wife he remained very active, taking up business and (fluent in Mandarin) journeying back to China, all in spite of increasing blindness from the corneal scarring resulting from the WW1 gassing.

Author and Sources

Robert Julian Palmer
Sources and any other comments: 

Obituary. BMJ 1985; 290: 81 | Personal communication from Dr Douglas Pearce | Ancestry.co.uk accessed on 04/12/2016