Henry Walter Featherstone 1894-1967

Henry sometimes know as Harry was born in Erdington, Warwickshire on the 5th of April 1894, son of William Barltrop Featherstone and Isabella Harriet Davies.

I suppose he looked at his Father and what he did, starting as a dispenser, moving to be a general practitioner, then a surgeon and also a director of a laundry company.

Harry was well educated

From: https://rcoa.ac.uk/dr-henry-walter-featherstone

In the first few years after qualifying Harry served with the RAMC Special Reserve in Salonika & Flanders (Lieutenant, then Captain), was an assistant demonstrator in anatomy in Cambridge, and held several posts at the General Hospital, Birmingham (house officer in ENT, resident medical officer, & physician to the disabled soldiers’ department) although the sequence is unclear. In 1921 he was appointed anaesthetist to Birmingham’s General & ENT Hospitals, added to the Dental Clinic in 1923, became an honorary consultant at the Children’s Hospital the following year, and clinical lecturer in anaesthetics to the University in 1928. In essence, these were the appointments he held until retirement although he returned to the RAMC for the duration of WW2, served on hospital ships and was eventually promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel.

Through his publications and other activities, Harry quickly became well known, joining the council of the section of anaesthetics at the RSM in 1924, and becoming president for 1930/31. Through his contacts with others, he had become aware of the need for an organisation to deal with those non-academic aspects of anaesthesia that were precluded by the RSM’s constitution. This restriction was emphasised when Magill, then the honorary secretary of the section, made proposals in 1931 regarding a diploma examination but was advised to desist by the secretary of the society. Harry then instituted the consultations and meetings which led to the establishment of the AAGBI. He was the first president (1932-5), afterwards serving as honorary secretary (1936-40). Awarded the DA(RCP&S) without examination (1935), Harry received many awards to mark the importance of his work: OBE (1944) for his military service; AAGBI John Snow Medal (1946); Honorary LLD, Edinburgh (1947); and Honorary FFARCS (1962).

After WW2 Harry returned to his Birmingham appointments, but not his busy private practice, focusing instead on teaching and pro-bono non-medical activities: county magistrate, commissioner of income tax and chairman of the executive committee of the YMCA. He also took an active part in the management of his family’s businesses and estates – his father had been a GP and Birmingham Alderman. Although no longer involved in the administration of the AAGBI he remained a constant attendee at its meetings. He also enjoyed hunting, and his entertaining was “proverbial”!

Author and sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. Anaesthesia 1967; 22: 532-3 | Boulton TB. The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland 1932-1992. London: AAGBI, 1999 (including a biography by ET Mathews) | Medical Directory | With thanks to the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britian & Ireland for the photograph.

You can trace his family line we have traced by following:


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