Dr Bernard Richard Millar Johnson

Dr Bernard Richard Millar Johnson FFARCS(Hon) FRCS MRCS LRCP DA

25/04/1905 to 18/05/1959

Place of birth: Fulham, London

Nationality: British

CRN: 715228

Education and qualifications

General education

Brighton College; Middlesex Hospital

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

DA(RCP&S), 1938

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Bernard Johnson served as house surgeon to Sir Gordon Gordon-Taylor, and as casualty surgical officer at the Middlesex Hospital before spending a year abroad considering a career in tropical medicine. On return he trained in anaesthesia as senior resident anaesthetist at the Middlesex where he was appointed assistant anaesthetist in 1931. By 1933 he was also working at St Peter’s Hospital and the dental department of University College Hospital. In 1936 he was appointed to the full staff of the Middlesex Hospital, becoming senior consultant anaesthetist in 1955, and holding that appointment until his sudden death in 1959.

Professional interests and activities

Prior to WW2 Johnson pioneered the introduction of intravenous anaesthesia into Great Britain. He then turned his attention to improving dental anaesthesia, and worked with R R Macintosh and W S McConnell to develop a first class service for the administration of anaesthesia based on University College Hospital. They established the ‘Mayfair Gas Company’, primarily for dental anaesthesia, but also provided anaesthesia for general surgery during honorary hospital sessions. He served in the RAMC, with distinction, throughout WW2, working in West Africa, the Middle East and the European campaigns in Italy and Normandy. As anaesthetic advisor to the Central Mediterranean Force, he held the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was mentioned in dispatches in 1944. After the war he retained his contact with the services as civilian consultant anaesthetist to the War Office.

He joined the council of the AAGBI in 1943, was honorary treasurer for 1947-50, and participated in the development of the Faculty of Anaesthetists within the Royal College of Surgeons. A founder member of the Board of Faculty, he served as Vice-Dean and then was the second Dean (1952-5), a role which provided a seat on the council of the RCSEng. Whilst dean he contributed to the design and implementation of the FFARCS examination (acting as an examiner up until the time of his death), and negotiated significant funding from industry, notably from BOC for the academic department of anaesthesia within the college. He was elected FFARCSHon (1953), was President of the anaesthetic section of the RSM (1955-6), and was elected FRCS (1956). He travelled widely, lecturing in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Denmark and Switzerland. In 1961 a Bernard Johnson Memorial Fund was established to endow a Faculty Adviser in Postgraduate Studies, the origin of the RCoA Bernard Johnson Advisors.

Other biographical information

Bernard Johnson had many outside pursuits. He took a keen interest in cricket, was a great countryman and a smallholder. He married Barbara Grace Scriven in 1933 and they had a daughter.

Author and Sources

Author: Dr E Anne Thornberry

Sources and any other comments: [1] Obituary. Lancet 1959; 273 (7083): 1154-5 [2] Obituary. Ann R Coll Surg Eng 1960; 26: 391 [3] Plaar’s Lives of Fellows of RCSEng - see livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk [4] Archive of Mayfair Gas Company at AAGBI.[5] Mr Bernard Johnson, Advances in Anaesthesia; The Times (London, England), May 22, 1959 pg 54467.