H. E. Quick, 1882-1967

By L. W Stratton

Extracted from Journal of Conchology, Volume 26, pp. 275–277
H. E. Quick
Hamilton Ernest Quick died at his home in Reading on 23 May 1967. He was born in Sydney, N.S.W., on 13 November 1882, the son of Charles and Florence Quick of Penzance, Cornwall. His father was assayer and works manager of the Anglo-French Nickel Company. Educated at Swansea Grammar School and the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, he took his B.Sc. degree in 1902 and then entered St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School. He graduated M.B., B.S. (Lond.) in 1906, and three years later became F.R.C.S. (Eng.). After house appointments in London, Southampton and Swansea, he was appointed Honorary Ophthalmic Surgeon at Swansea General and Eye Hospital, a post he occupied for 39 years. On his retirement he was made Honorary Consulting Surgeon. He was also ophthalmic surgeon to the Swansea, Pembrokeshire and Breconshire Education authorities and was a medical referee to the Home Office. During the First World War Quick saw active service with the 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance. He took part in the landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, in 1915 and was mentioned in dispatches. Quick was married in 1918 to Adelaide Ruth Hellins, daughter of Mr and Mrs H. H. Hellins; Mrs Hellins was related to Sir Humphrey Davy. His wife died in 1946 and he is survived by two married daughters.

Quick was elected a Member of the Conchological Society in 1916, of which he was President 1941–42 and was elected an Honorary Member in 1955. He was also a Member of the Malacological Society of London, of which he was President 1950–53 and Editor 1951–56. He was a good all-round naturalist with a special knowledge of several groups, such as woodlice, grasshoppers and false-scorpions, but Mollusca were his chief love. While his knowledge of British non-marine gastropods was exhaustive, he made certain groups which require dissection for their determination – namely Succineidae, Vitrinidae and slugs – peculiarly his own: as an authority on the first of these he established a world-wide reputation, and the genus Quickella C. R. Boettger, 1939 (type-species: Succinea arenaria Bouchard-Chantereaux) was named in recognition of his researches. His paper on 'The anatomy of British Succineae' (1933) was so authoritative that the Recorder of non-marine Mollusca had to scrap earlier records of the British species and make a fresh start. His last major publication, 'British Slugs' (1960) may be regarded as his magnum opus and is indispensable to all students of this group. No one can ever write about British slugs without referring to the work of Quick.

Before failing health prevented him from making the journey to London, Quick was most regular in his attendance at the meetings of the Conchological Society, where his opinions, offered in his quiet, almost shy, manner, always received the respect due to them. On the occasion of the visit of delegates to the First European Malacological Congress to Juniper Hall Field Centre, Mickleham, on 20 September 1962, he received a royal welcome on his arrival, attired in a track—suit, at tea—time. The writer had the privilege of working with him on Mollusca courses at the Field Studies Council’s centres at Malham, Yorkshire and Juniper Hall, Surrey. I shared a room with him and got to know him well. The longer one knew 'Doc', as he was affectionately known at the centres, the more one's respect and affection grew. He always spoke quietly, yet there was authority in what he had to say. He was kind and gentle and possessed a quiet humour which was infectious. When we were at Malham he was over 70, yet the longest trek over rough country never daunted him. He was philosophical by nature and, during a very dry spell, did his best to produce slugs for the students with the aid of a watering can.

Undoubtedly his skill as an ophthalmic surgeon contributed to his mastery of dissection. To watch him dissect a minute snail was an education. His many anatomical papers were illustrated with his own neat drawings, and his illustrations of slugs in his Synopsis (1949) and Bulletin (1960) display artistic competence. This skill was employed on his Christmas cards, usually molluscan and humorous, though I have before me a delightful coloured picture of Testacella maugei received at Christmas 1962.

Quick was always generous with his time and knowledge. Juniper Hall and the Department of Zoology at Reading University, to which he gave of both unstintingly, will miss him greatly. To conchology and to the Conchological Society his loss is grievous. To those of us who knew him the happy memory of this kindly, lovable man will ever remain. An obituary and portrait appeared in the British Medical Journal, 17 June 1967 (No. 5554) p. 772.

List of publications by H. E. Quick

1918 Helix pisana Mill. at Swansea. J. Conch. 15: 288.
1920 Notes on the anatomy and reproduction of Paludestrina stagnalis.J. Conch. 16: 96–97.
1920 Parthenogenesis in Paludestrina jenkinsi from brackish water. J. Conch. 16: 97.
1924 Length of life of Paludestrina ulvae. J. Conch. 17: 169.
1925 Vertigo angustior in Glamorgan. J. Conch. 17: 223.
1926 Shell pockets of Oxwich dunes. J. Conch. 18: 57–60.
1927 Oecological notes on the Oxwich sand dune area. J. Conch. 18: 119–122.
1927 A note on Helix pisana at Swansea. Proc. Swansea scient. Fld Nat. Soc. 1: 11.
1931 Physa acuta at Singleton. Proc. Swansea scient. Fld Nat. Soc. 1: 129.
1933 Isidorella pyramidata (Sow.). J. Conch. 19: 322–328.
1933 The anatomy of British Succineae. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 20: 295–318.
1934 The development of the radula and jaw and of the specific differences in young Succinea pfeiferi Rossm. and Succinea putris (L.). Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 21: 96–103.
1934 Isidorella pyramidata (Sow.): a correction. J. Conch. 20: 50.
1934 Conchological notes. Proc. Swansea scient. Fld Nat. Soc. 1: 217.
1935 On the occurrence of Caecilioides acicula Müller, in the Gower Peninsula. Proc. Swansea scient. Fld Nat. Soc. 1: 286–289.
1936 The anatomy of some South African Succineae, and of Succinea hungarica Hazay and S. australis Férussac for comparison. Ann. Natal Mus. 8: 19–45
1936 Notes and records. Mollusca. Proc. Swansea scient. Fld Nat. Soc. 1: 322.
1937 Slimming drugs and cataract, with notes of a case. Br. med. J. 1937 (1): 1203—1204.
1937 [With A. R. Waterston] Geonemertes dendyi Dakin, a land nemertean, in Wales. Proc. R. Soc. Edinb. 57: 379–384.
1938 The medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis Linn. in Breconshire, with notes on the other species of Hirudinea found in South Wales. Proc. Swansea scient. Fld Nat. Soc. 2: 12–14.
1939 Hyalimax mauritianus Fischer, a succineid slug from Mauririus. Bull. Maurit. Inst. 1: 57–61.
1939 Some particulars of four Indo-Pacific Succinea. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 23: 296–302.
1939 On Succinea andecola Crawford. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 23: 333–335.
1943 Land snails and slugs of West Glamorgan. J. Conch. 22: 4–12.
1946 The mating process in Arion hortensis, Férussac, and in Arion subfuscus, Draparnaud.J. Conch. 22: 178–182.
1946 Obituary, Ernest Le Cronier Lancaster, 1862–1945. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 27: 5.
1947 Arion ater (L.) and A. rufus (L.) in Britain and their specific differences. J. Conch. 22: 249–261.
1949 Slugs (Mollusca). (Testacellidae, Arionidae, Limacsdae.) Synopses Br. Fauna No. 8. Linnean Society of London.
1949 Limapontia depressa Alder and Hancock in Suffolk and Glamorgan. J. Conch. 23: 84.
1950 The spermatophore of Milax sowerbii (Férussac). J. Conch. 23: 111–112.
1950 Observations on Limapontia. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 28: 134–138.
1951 Agriolimax laevis (Müller) feeding on mealy bugs. J. Conch. 23: 146.
1951 Succinea archeyi Powell. Rec. Auckland Inst. Mus. 4: 123–126.
1952 Rediscovery of Arion lusitanicus Mabille in Britain. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 29: 93–101.
1952 A key to the identification of the shells of the land snails of Reading area. Reading Nat. (4): 1–10.
1952 Emigrant British snails. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 29: 181–189.
1953 [Obituary] Wilfrid Mark Webb. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 29: 215.
1953 Helicellids introduced into Australia. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 30: 74–79.
1954 Cochlicopa in the British Isles. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 30: 204–213.
1954 Journey to the Gughé Highlands (Southern Ethiopia), 1948–49: Gastropoda, slugs from the high mountains. J. Linn. Soc. (Zoology) 42: 382–386.
1954 Helix pomatia L. with abnormal genital ducts. J. Conch. 24: 12.
1954 [Review] An Introduction to Molluscan Ecology, by Alan Mozley. J. Conch. 24: 25.
1954 [Report of Field Meeting] Pangbourne, Berkshire, 13 June 1954. J. Conch. 24: 25.
1956 [Review] Sites of Infection, by Alan Mozley. J. Conch. 24: 104.
1957 [Review] Liver-fluke Snails in Britain, by Alan Mozley. J. Conch. 24: 212.
1957 Succinea flexilis sp. nov. from Gough Island. Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 32: 203–206.
1958 Vitrina major (Férussac) in Surrey, with some remarks on the species. J. Conch. 24: 235–238.
1958 Vitrina major (Férussac) in Surrey: a correction. J. Conch. 24: 286.
1959 [Appendix to 'Some land Mollusca from northern Iraq', by H. E. J. Biggs] Levantina kurdistana (Parreyss). L. Pfeiffer. J. Conch. 24: 347–348.
1959 Obituary. Hugh Watson, 1885—1959. J. Conch. 24: 359–360.
1960 British Slugs (Pulmonara; Testacellidae, Arionidae, Limacidae). Bull. Br. Mus. nat. Hist. (Zoology) 6: 103–226.
1960 Hygromia liberta (Westerlund) and H. hispida (L.) living together. J. Conch. 24: 397.
1960 Limax (Lehmannia) poirieri Mabille near Reading. J. Conch. 24: 398.
1960 Hygromia subrufescens (Miller) and H. subvirescens (Bellamy) living together.J. Conch. 24: 418.