William Henry Battle

William Henry Battle (1855 – 1936) was an English surgeon.

Eponynmously associated with a sign, incision and operation…best known for his description of a mastoid ecchymosis as an indicator of a skull base fracture (Battle sign)

Credited with the first report of a laparotomy to relieve intestinal obstruction resulting from adhesions

Served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Actively contributions to The Lancet editorial board and British Medical Association


  • Born 23rd February 1855 Lincoln, England
  • 1877 – Graduated from St. Thomas’s Medical School, London
  • 1889 – Appointed Hunterian Professor in Surgery and Pathology (Royal College of Surgeons)
  • 1892 – Editor of “A Mirror of hospital practice” a feature in The Lancet
  • 1914-18 No 5 London general hospital, with rank of lieutenant-colonel, RAMC
  • Died 2nd February 1936 Woking, Surrey

Medical Eponyms

  • Battle sign – Postauricular (mastoid) ecchymosis as an indication of fracture of the base of the skull.
  • Battle incision – vertical incision of the abdominal wall with temporary retraction of the rectus muscle medially.
  • Battle operation – alternate operative approach for femoral hernia repair

Major Publications


eponymictionary CTA


the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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