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Surgeon Captain Frederick Walter Pick

Frederick Walter Pick MBBS DMRD FRCR RN

Frederick Walter Pick was was born on 6 July 1935 in Nottingham. He was educated at High Pavement Grammar School in Nottingham where he was reported as a diligent and intelligent scholar, passing five A levels, the fifth simply because the opportunity arose. He started his medical training at University College Hospital (UCH) graduating in 1959. A keen rugby player, Fred represented UCH in the Hospitals’ Cup over several seasons. His house officer experience while working for Lord Amulree, an early luminary in geriatric medicine, shaped his strongly held belief in the importance of communication with the patient and that of patient dignity. It was probably also when he also developed the skill of not rushing in to help patients on or off the examination table. 

Fred reported to the medical department of the Navy for medical examination and interview on 7 June 1960 and there began his national service naval career as Acting Surgeon Lieutenant with no thoughts of a full career at that time. As Medical Officer he saw short postings in Royal Navy Hospital (RNH) Haslar, RNH Stonehouse, HMS Blake and RNH Malta, where he met Muriel, his future wife, who was serving as Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service nursing officer. In 1964 while in HMS Maidstone he was accepted for permanent service. 


6th July 1935 to 16th January 2021

Fred entered radiology training in Royal Navy Medical Service (RNMS) and was appointed as a consultant in 1976. In 1980 he was appointed Consultant Adviser Radiology to Medical Director General (Naval). The Falklands War in 1982 saw his deployment to the South Atlantic. Initial work was the short order conversion of SS Uganda, call sign 'Mother Hen', from an educational cruise ship into a hospital ship in Gibraltar before steaming south with an effective radiology department. Later Fred was integral in the planning and modernisation of the new radiology department in RNH Haslar occupying part of the crosslink extension. 

Fred was posted to Germany in 1986 as part of a tri-service initiative, a posting he and his family enjoyed. It was not without moments of confusion and great mirth particularly on arrival when the Adjutant required Fred to call on him. The Major's assistant phoned Captain Pick summoning him to the Adjutant’s office. Fred, very much an upholder of etiquette responded that said Major could call on him if he wished to see him. The Adjutant anticipating a confrontation for Fred’s insubordination enters Fred’s office without knocking only to see him, stood behind his desk, resplendent with his jacket on, displaying four hefty gold stripes on each arm.  At this sudden realisation, no more needed to be said and apology accepted.

Fred finished his career in RNH Haslar but continued to work as a civilian and occasional locum into the mid-2000s. He was a firm but fair boss and was both protective and supportive of his staff, especially the radiographers and other ranks.  He never let his standards slip and was unconventionally encouraging, although at times his dry sense of humour could be lost on the newest qualified radiographers.

In retirement, Fred and Muriel were able to enjoy golf and he was a founding member of Cams Hall Estate golf club. His greatest love, however, was family life with Muriel, daughter Alison and doting on his granddaughters Charlotte and Lucy. He passed away after a short illness 16th January 2021.