Thomas Pomfret Kilner 1890-1964

Thomas Kilner was born on 17 September 1890, the son of a master at Manchester Grammar School, he was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Blackburn, and at Manchester University, where he won the Dauntesey Scholarship and the Sidney Renshaw Exhibition and was later awarded medals in anatomy and physiology. He won distinctions in surgery and pathology when he qualified in 1912.298

He Graduated into medicine at Manchester. He worked alongside Harold Gilles at Sidcup in 1919.

Tommy Kilner, with Gilles remained the only two dedicated specialists in England until the 1930s, when they were joined by Rainsford Mowlem and Archibald McIndoe.  He was to remain great friends with Harold Gilles all of his life.


These four were the only plastic surgeons in the UK at the outbreak of the Second World War in the nation’s teaching hospitals.

He worked at Sidcup, Roehampton and Oxford and Oxford where he became Nuffield Professor of Plastic Surgery. He held this Chair from 1945 - 1957.

He retired in 1957 and died of an AAA in 1964.299

We in theatre are still reminded of him because of his still commonly used Kilner needle holder and fine scissors.



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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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