Wing Commander Robert Louis Soper

Personal Details

Wing Commander Robert Louis Soper CBE FFARCS MRCS LRCP DA

15/02/1908 to 06/10/1973

Place of birth: Tynemouth, Northumberland

Nationality: British

CRN: 715411

Group Captain, 1951; Air Commodore, 1961

Education and qualifications

General education

St Lawrenve College, Ramsgate; Guy’s Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

DA(RCP&S), 1936

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Early appointments included resident anaesthetist & demonstrator in anaesthetics at Guy’s and RMO at Chelmsford Hospital before he joined the RAF in1935. He served continuously until his retirement as consultant adviser in 1973. Starting as a pilot officer he was granted a permanent commission in 1938 and moved progressively through the ranks. After WW2 service overseas he was apppinted senior specialist to Princess Mary’s RAF Hospital, Halton which was his base from 1945.

Professional interests and activities

An inventive individual he designed a number of items, notably several portable anaesthetic systems and the ‘Soper’ laryngoscope, an improved version of the straight blade design type. Service life in the years after WW2 brought much disruption to personnel, especially as there was a shortage of anaesthetists, and Soper was noted for the sympathetic attention he brought to his dealings with junior officers. He was awarded the CBE for his services in 1967.

Other biographical information

Father was Captain E P Soper RN (engineer). Married first Fanny Rider Leng with whom he had two daughters, and second Betty with whom he had one son. He was well known for his enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, photography and its equipment.


Author and Sources

Author: Dr Robert Palmer & Air Commodore Colin McLaren

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. BMJ 1973; 4: 175 | Personal knowledge | Archives of King’s College, London | | Medical Directory