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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 November 24; 335(7629): 1101.
PMCID: PMC2094168

David Eric Worsley

Although a reluctant conscript into the army for national service, David Eric Worsley soon became convinced that this would provide him with a rewarding career, so he took a permanent commission into the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1955. With characteristic enthusiasm and humour, he helped to establish and maintain his chosen specialty of army health and was always ready to act as mentor to others developing a similar interest in occupational medicine.

In his early career, much of which was spent in the Far East, he was involved in malaria research, particularly the rise of chloroquine resistance, on which he published several papers, as well as the physiology of climate stress and disturbance in circadian rhythm.

He was perhaps most at home with his time at the Army Personnel Research Establishment, Farnborough, an appointment concerned with human factors in the physiological field related to army occupation particularly climate, nutrition, and clothing.

David became director of army health in 1980, with responsibility for all aspects of preventive medicine and the training of involved personnel. He liaised with relevant civilian organisations such as the RSM, FOM, and FCM, and he became a course organiser for several MFCM training modules. At this time he was appointed Queen's honorary physician.

His last appointment was as commander of Army Medical Services, Territorial Army in 1985, from which he sadly resigned to leave the service in 1987, unhappy with the political interference leading to the reduction in RAMC personnel below what he regarded as a sensible level (as time has shown with Iraq/Afghanistan). He was prescient.

He leaves widow, Sylvia, and three children: Judy, a practising homeopath, and Simon and Gilly, both general practitioners. Of the seven grandchildren, three are medical students.


Former commander Army Medical Services, Territorial Army (b 22 December 1929; q Bristol 1952; DTM&H, DPH, DIH, MFOM, FFPH), died from adenocarcinoma of the lung complicated by vasculitis on 21 December 2006.

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