Professor John Andrew Thornton

Professor John Andrew Thornton MD FFARCS FFARACS MRCS LRCP DA

19/12/1927 to 31/12/2018

Place of birth: Hugglescote, Leicestershire

Nationality: British

Professor, from 1971

CRN: 519881

Education and qualifications

General education

Wyggeston Grammar School, Leicester; Oakham School, Rutland; St John’s School, Leatherhead; Leicester University College; Guy’s Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)

MBBS, London, 1951

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MRCS LRCP, 1951; DA(RCP&S), 1953; MD, London, 1971

Professional Life and Career

Postgraduate Career

Initial appointments (house physician, house surgeon & SHO in anaesthetics) were at Lewisham Hospital, and he then returned to Guy’s as resident anaesthetist. Between 1953-6 served as a specialist in anaesthetics in the RAMC, spending 1954 as lecturer in the Kitchener School of Medicine in Khartoum. From 1956 lecturer in experimental medicine at Guy’s, first graded as a registrar and then senior registrar, before being appointed a consultant to the Sheffield United Hospitals in 1961. Moved sideways to a senior lecturer post two years later, becoming foundation professor in 1971. In 1983, went to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, again as foundation professor, this time of anaesthesia & intensive care, holding this post until retirement in 1988 although continuing to fill locum posts for a few years thereafter.

Professional interests and activities

Research, much of it on drug reactions and with a focus on dental sedation, was a feature throughout his career, the basis of a wide range of publications. Elected FFARACS in recognition of his work. Served a term on the Board of our then Faculty and was Advisor in Anaesthetics to the Briitsh Army.

Other biographical information

Married to Elizabeth they had four chidren: Charlotte, Rachel, Rebecca (her son a doctor) & Christopher, a professor of fungal immunology. A keen painter in water colours he was also a steam railway enthusiast, building one eighth scale models from scratch himself.

Author and sources

Author: Self-written with input from son Christopher, and Dr Adrian Padfield

Sources and any other comments: [1] Harrison MJ. British Academic Anaesthetists 1950-2000, Vol 1. Wellington: Harrison, 2011, 119-28.  ISBN 9780473200497