Maurice Yonge

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Sir Charles Maurice Yonge, CBE, FRS[1] (9 December 1899[2] – 17 March 1986) was an English marine zoologist.

Charles Maurice Yonge was born in Yorkshire in 1899.[3] He was educated at Silcoates School, where his father was headmaster.[4]

After leaving school at 17, and enrolling in the University of Leeds, Yonge joined the Army Training Corps during 1917-1918. After the war ended, Yonge read history at the University of Oxford, before transferring to the University of Edinburgh in 1919 to study forestry and later zoology.[1] He was a Baxter Natural Science Scholar while at Edinburgh, working as an Assistant Naturalist with the Marine Biological Association, mainly at Plymouth.[1]


After graduation with a B.Sc. in 1922, Yonge proceeded to a PhD on the digestive system of marine invertebrates. He took his D.Sc in 1927, for his research into oysters, and then moved to Cambridge in 1927 as a Balfour student, where he was invited to join and lead the Great Barrier Reef Expedition of 1928-1929.[1] Yonge, his wife and his colleagues in the expedition spent a year off the coast of Queensland, studying Australia's Great Barrier Reef, in particular Low Isles Reef. Their work was published in the book, A year on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as other publications.[1]

In 1933, Yonge became Professor of Zoology at the University of Bristol, and was made Regius Professor of Zoology at the University of Glasgow in 1944.[3]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1946 and won its Darwin Medal in 1968. He received his knighthood in 1967.[3]

Yonge also received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1971.[5]

Yonge married Dr Martha "Mattie" Lennox in 1927, a fellow student he had met during their days at Edinburgh, where she was reading medicine.[1] They had two children, Elspeth (born 1931) and Robin (born 1934).[1] Mattie Lennox Yonge died in 1945.[1] In 1955, Yonge became father-in-law of the physicist Bruno Touschek due to Elspeth's marriage.

Yonge died in 1986. He was survived by his second wife, Phyllis, whom he married in 1954. They had a son, Christopher (born 1955).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Morton, B. (1992). "Charles Maurice Yonge. 9 December 1899 – 17 March 1986". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 38: 378. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1992.0020.
  2. ^ "Birth details at". 31 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "University of Glasgow :: Story :: Biography of Charles Maurice Yonge". Retrieved 2017-04-16.
  4. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". Retrieved 2016-04-07.