John Rawlins (Royal Navy officer)

Surgeon Vice-Admiral Sir John Stuart Pepys Rawlins, KBE, FRCP, FFCM, FRAES (12 May 1922 – 27 July 2011) was a British Royal Navy officer and pioneer in the field of diving medicine.

Royal Navy

Rawlins was the son of Colonel Stuart Rawlins. He was educated at Wellington College, read medicine at University College, Oxford and trained at Barts, graduating in 1945.[1] Soon after, Rawlins began his career as a surgeon lieutenant Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officer and was assigned to the colossus class aircraft carrier HMS Triumph in 1947.[1] After transitioning from the reserves to active duty in 1951, Rawlins was assigned to the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM).[1][2] Rawlins was promoted to the rank of surgeon commander while he continued his research at the IAM until 1961.[1] Rawlins was also a member of the US Navy SEALAB project.[3]

Rawlins served as the RN Director of Health and Research from 1975 to 1977 and later as the RN Medical Director General from 1977 to 1980 when he retired as Surgeon Vice Admiral.[1][4]

Other honors

In 1971, Rawlins also served as the first "past president" on the founding executive committee for the European Underwater and Baromedical Society.[5]

Rawlins was awarded the MBE in 1955 for his work with protective helmets.[6]

The OBE was awarded in 1961 for his work on the automatic underwater escape system.[6]

The Gilbert Blane Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons was awarded in 1974 for his work on cold in diving.[6]

Rawlins was a British Sub-Aqua Club Honorary Life Member as well as President of the Historical Diving Society and the Association of RN First Class Divers.[4]

Rawlins received the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club in 2000.[2][7]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900-1975". King's College London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  2. 1 2 "The Explorers Club Honors Clive Cussler and 12 Other Deep Sea Explorers". National Underwater and Marine Agency. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  3. Davis, Michael (1979). "Immersion hypothermia in scuba diving.". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal (reprint from New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine). 9 (2). Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  4. 1 2 "Death of Surgeon Vice Admiral Sir John Rawlins, KBE, MA (Oxf), BB, BCh, FRCP, FFCM, FRAES". Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  5. Bornmann, Robert C (1991). "Foundation for tenth years of accomplishment.". Proceedings of the XVIIth Meeting of the European Underwater and Baromedical Society. Heraklion, Kriti, Greece: European Underwater and Baromedical Society.
  6. 1 2 3 Rawlins, John (1976). "Man in the deep". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal. 6 (1). Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  7. "The Lowell Thomas Award". The Explorers Club. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
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