Peter Collinson

Dr Peter Collinson
Dr Peter Collinson
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PETER Collinson, who has died aged 98, was a GP in Rotherham until he was 75, the third generation of his family to have served in the same practice. His father, Francis Charles Collinson, was in his 90s when he retired, and his son, Charles, is now the fourth generation Collinson to be in it.

Dr Collinson went to Epson College, the public school which specialises in taking the sons of medical practitioners, and in 1933 went to Sheffield University, completing his medical studies at St Bartholomew’s in 1940 when he joined the Royal Navy as Medical Officer on the destroyer HMS Hurricane.

He spent the next year embroiled in the Battle of the Atlantic, escorting the convoys that kept the British war effort supplied.

That year, HMS Hurricane rescued over 1,100 torpedoed mariners and passengers, Dr Collinson treating many of them for burns, oil and smoke inhalation, other injuries and hypothermia.

On September 18, 1940, four days after sailing from Liverpool with 90 children being evacuated to Canada among her passengers, the SS City of Benares was torpedoed by U-48. HMS Hurricane arrived on the scene 24 hours later, picking up 105 survivors in a Force 8 gale.

The vivid, terrible memory of that belated rescue would live with Dr Collinson for the rest of his life.

Extraordinarily, after the war there were regular re-unions of the survivors and the crew of U-48 – events Dr Collinson attended until relatively recently.

He was on shore leave in Liverpool on the night of May 7/8, 1941, when the destroyer was bombed during a German air raid. Dr Collinson returned to the dock to find his ship all-but sunk and all his belongings gone.

He was transferred to a land-based job at HMS Royal Arthur, a naval facility at Skegness, which after the war became the Butlin’s holiday camp.

Then came a posting as MO on the assault landing ship , HMS Royal Ulsterman, used as headquarters for the Allied landings on the island of Pantellaria (June 11, 1943), on Scilly (July 10), Salerno (September 8) and Anzio, (January, 1944).

His ship was also involved in the June 6 D-Day invasion, and subsequently, Dr Collinson went to Scotland with a Royal Navy medical team which took over the former American hospital at Kilcreggan on the Clyde.

There he met a WREN, Desne Service, the couple getting married in 1946.

By then he had been demobbed and joined his father’s practice in the centre of Rotherham where he remained for the next 42 years.

He was, in many respects, ahead of his time, being a GP who worked on his bedside manner, very conscious of his patients’ needs, and as a consequence, courteous, considerate and sensitive. When computers arrived on the scene, he was quick to make use of them.

At heart a countryman, he moved onto the Wentworth Woodhouse estate where he lived for 61 years, shooting grouse and pheasant on the estate and painting water colours of landscapes and village scenes. He played golf on the Lindrick championship course near Worksop, and was a world traveller.

In addition to his practice, he was a hospital practitioner in dermatology at Rotherham Hospital, a police surgeon for the West Riding of Yorkshire and medical officer for the Lady Mabel College which then occupied the Wentworth Woodhouse mansion. He was steward of the Medical Charitable Society for the West Riding of Yorkshire and chairman of the Stoddart Samaritans Fund.

Dr Collinson is survived by his wife Desne, their children Iain, Charles and Angela, and six grandchildren.