Henry, Arnold Kirkpatrick (1886–1962), surgeon and anatomist, was born 3 February 1886 at 37 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, son of Richard Henry, physician, and Annie Louisa Henry (née Kirkpatrick). He was educated at Aravon preparatory school, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and later in England at Trent College near Nottingham, before entering TCD to study medicine; he graduated MB, B.Ch., BAO in 1911 and proceeded FRCSI in 1914. At the outbreak of the first world war he served as a surgeon in the Serbian army, taking with him as his assistant his wife, Dorothy Milne, who was also a surgeon. When Serbia was invaded by the Germans in 1916 they escaped to England, where Henry joined the RAMC. Not content with his posting to India, he resigned his commission and joined the French army medical service, serving as a surgeon with the rank of médecin-majeur for the remainder of the war (1917–19). For his services he was made a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur (1918) and a member of the Order of St Sava by the French and Serbian governments respectively.
After the war Henry joined the staff of the Richmond Hospital, Dublin (1920) as assistant surgeon, at the same time editing the Irish Journal of Medical Science. He resigned from both appointments when he was made professor of surgery at the University of Cairo, Egypt (1925). There he joined Roy Dobbin, professor of obstetrics, and William O'Farrell, professor of pathology, both graduates from Dublin. He taught at Cairo with distinction for eleven years and was made a commander of the Order of the Nile by the Egyptian government (1936) in recognition of his contribution to his subject and the university. After leaving Egypt he took up a post as reader in surgery at the newly established postgraduate medical school at Hammersmith, London, where he was a popular teacher and contributed greatly to the academic standing of the department. He resigned in 1943 to devote his time to writing, in particular to a new edition of his original work on surgical exposures, Exposure of the long bones (1927), republished in 1945 as Extensile exposure applied to limb surgery and also translated into Spanish. He returned to Ireland in 1947 when he was made professor of anatomy at the RCSI (1947–59); he was particularly happy in this his final appointment, and he wrote a second surgical textbook, The hinge graft or ginglymus implant (1950). His memory is honoured in the college by the annual A. K. Henry lecture; during his tenure he planned and organised the construction of a student restaurant, which was named for him. He was made emeritus professor of anatomy at the RCSI in 1960 following his retirement.
A distinguished surgical anatomist, Henry gained an international reputation in his subject and is chiefly remembered for his many contributions to the surgical literature, his innovative teaching techniques, and his classic textbook on surgical exposures, which was in use worldwide at the time of his death. His contribution to medical education in Egypt was acknowledged by the University of Cairo when they awarded him an honorary M.Ch. (1936) and made him emeritus professor of clinical surgery. His alma mater later awarded him an honorary M.Ch. (1956), and he held other honours such as fellowship of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and the Royal Society of Medicine, London. His capacity for hard work and analytical criticism was acknowledged by colleagues, including William Doolin (qv), who succeeded him as editor of the Irish Journal of Medical Science, and he was a fine, if somewhat formal, writer and linguist. A popular teacher, he was a modest man, whose gentleness was ‘unusual in those days of extrovert rumbustious surgeons’ (The Lancet, 811). Highly principled and a perfectionist, he expected the best of everyone and was often distressed by the shortcomings of human nature.
Henry and his wife collaborated on several projects, including an exhibition of anatomical specimens illustrating surgical exposures for a meeting at Dublin of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland in the mid 1920s. They had two children, a son, who followed his father into a career in medicine, and a daughter. Henry died in the night of 5–6 April 1962 at his home, Rosbeg, at Baily, Dublin.