Born in London, the son of Thomas Johnston English, MRCS.
Educated at Westminster School and St George's Hospital. Royal College of Physicians Murchison scholarship 1900; Royal College of Surgeons Jacksonian prize 1902. Fellowship of RCS 1903; Hunterian professor 1904. Assistant surgeon at St George's Hospital 1904-1912, surgeon 1912; lecturer on surgery in the medical schoold.
Captain in RAMC territorial force 1913; served as medical officer in charge of troops at the Tower of London, and with the British Expeditionary Force in France; promoted to consulting surgeon to the Army with the rank of colonel AMS in 1917; served with the British forces at Salonika and Italy. CMG 1917; knighthood 1917. Member of the Army Medical Board until 1933. Consulting surgeon to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital, Millbank; Royal Hospital, Chelsea; King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers. Knight of Grace and member of the Chapter-General of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Consulting surgeon to the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, the Grosvenor Hospital for Women, Queen Charlotte's Hospital and Beckenham Hospital. Private practice at 82 Brook Street, London. Active in the British Medical Association and Goldsmiths' Company. Published on surgery.
Married Annie Gaunt McLeod in 1905; they had a daughter. Died 25 Aug 1949, aged 71, at his country house, Chilton Hall, Sudbury, Suffolk.