He started work as a house surgeon at Ashington Hospital, Northumberland and as resident medical officer at Princess Mary Maternity Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne. When the Second World War started he joined the Royal Navy, spending most of the time in the Far East, the North Atlantic and the Pacific. When the war finished he continued his medical career at Guy's Hospital, London and the Royal Victoria Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but then rejoined the Navy as a surgical specialist.
Posted initially to Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, he also saw service in Korea, Northern Ireland and Hong Kong. He was promoted to Consultant in Surgery in 1956 and became the first joint Professor of Naval Surgery in 1965 with the rank of Surgeon Captain. He became a Surgeon Rear-Admiral when appointed Dean of Naval Medicine and Medical Officer in charge of the Institute of Naval Medicine in 1969 and was further promoted to Surgeon Vice-Admiral when appointed Medical Director-General of the Navy. He was knighted KBE in 1975.
He was also a historian with a particular interest in medicine at sea in the age of sail. His publications include,