Captain William Reynolds Macartney Morton was educated at Foyle College, Londonderry, and Queen's University, Belfast, where he graduated BSc with first class honours in 1927, and MB, BS, BAO with second class honours in 1930. He won many undergraduate prizes and was awarded a Blue for swimming. After holding house posts at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, the Halifax Royal Infirmary, and the Clayton Hospital, Wakefield, he was appointed in 1932 demonstrator in pharmacology at Queen's University, and proceeded MD with gold medal in 1934. In that year also he was appointed demonstrator in anatomy at Queen's and then after a short period as house-surgeon at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, he went to Cambridge as demonstrator in anatomy in 1937, where he started his research work in embryology.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the RAMC, serving in France, Malta, and Italy, and ending up as Lieutenant Colonel in command of a Field Ambulance. After demobilisation in 1945, Reynolds Morton returned to Cambridge, but went back to Queen's University, Belfast, in 1947 as lecturer in embryology, where he remained until his death. During this time he acted as head of the department for two years after the death of Professor Thomas Walmsley, was promoted to a readership, and was graded consultant in anatomy to the Northern Ireland Hospitals Authority. He published over 70 papers on embryological and anthropological topics, which reflected his interest in congenital abnormalities, the placenta, cytogenetics, and Irish prehistorical burials.
Reynolds Morton was a gifted and enthusiastic teacher, and took a very active part in university life, serving on the athletics and blues committees, and was president of the photographic society. He loved photography, and was rarely seen without a camera over his shoulder. Like all his technical work his photography was scrupulously executed, and the results were of outstanding artistic merit. He loved the Church of Ireland, and served for many years as churchwarden, glebe warden, and parochial nominator. His faith was a major factor in his life, as it was in his death, which he faced with characteristic courage and serenity.
Dr William Reynolds Macartney Morton, died on 7 February after a short illness at the age of 61.1