Distinguished Hunts surgeon dies, aged 78

A DISTINGUISHED former military surgeon who will be remembered by many Hinchingbrooke Hospital patients has died, aged 78.

After an extensive Army career that culminated in his appointment as Professor of Military Surgery, Michael Stephen Owen-Smith became a consultant at Hunts County Hospital and Hinchingbrooke, where he specialised in breast surgery. He died last Thursday after a long illness.

Born in Southwark, south London, Mr Owen-Smith served for three years as a gunnery officer in Hong Kong before leaving to study medicine at University College Hospital, London, where he met his wife, Angela, a fellow medical student.

After qualifying in medicine and specialising as a surgeon, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1963 and developed such extensive expertise in the treatment of bullet wounds that he later acted as visiting lecturer in Sweden every November for 20 years, so successfully that he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Linköping, one of Sweden’s largest academic institutions, and became Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons.

His military career included extended tours in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as service in Germany, Northern Ireland and Nepal.

After leaving the Army in 1981, he moved with his wife, now a successful paediatrician, to Huntingdonshire, in due course settling in Hartford, though his military connections continued with the Territorial Army until 2001, two years after his retirement from Hinchingbrooke.

He was a keen golfer in retirement, playing at Brampton Golf Club, of which he was a founder member.

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His wife was, until last year, chairman of the Huntingdon Town Partnership.

The Owen-Smiths had three children, Victoria, Oliver and Hettie, all of whom qualified as doctors, and seven grandchildren.

INFORMATION: The funeral will take place at All Saints’ Church, Huntingdon, on Tuesday May 7 at 2.45pm, followed by cremation at Cambridge. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Woodlands Centre, at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, through the funeral directors, William Peacock and Sons: telephone 01480 453882.