Surgeon General Hayward Reader Whitehead was the son of the Reverend Thomas Clarke Whitehead MA, headmaster of Christ's College, Finchley. He received his education at Charing Cross Hospital and took the MRCS in 1877, and the LRCP and FRCS of the University of Edinburgh in 1880. Subsequently took the DPH of the London Colleges in 1890. On qualifying, he became assistant surgeon on the staff at Charring Cross Hospital and the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital.
29 July 1882 Surgeon-Captain.
1892 Gazetted surgeon.
1 Oct 1891–30 Sept 1896 Assistant Professor of military surgery at the Army Medical School Netley.
13 Feb 1893 Married Evelyn Wynne Cayley, second daughter of Colonel Henry Cayley IMS and Letitia Mary Walters, in South Stoneham, Hampshire.
29 July 1894 Surgeon-Major.
1897–1898 Served in the Tirah Campaign North West Frontier. Was at the action of Dargai, the capture of the Sampaglia and Arhanga passes, the operations against the Khani Khel Chamkanui tribe, and those in the Bara Valley. Mentioned in dispatches in the London Gazette of 5 April 1898.
20 May 1898 Surgeon-Lieutenant Colonel (special promotion for services on the North West Frontier).
26 Jan 1905 Colonel L/RAMC.
1908 While holding an administrative post in India, he served in the expedition against the Mohmand. Was mentioned in despatches in the London Gazette of 14 Aug 1908.
21 Jan 1909 Surgeon-General. Posted to Southern Command.
Mar 1912 Appointed a Knight of Grace. Posted to Eastern Command. Held this post for the first year of the war.
28 July 1914 Start of the Great War.
4 Aug 1914 Britain declares war on Germany.
1914 Served in the Great War.
Malta 29 July 1915 Arrived from England at a time when the hospital base in Malta was expanding to accommodate the sick and wounded from the Dardanelles.
Took over as Deputy Director of Medical Services Malta from Lt Col R R Sleman RAMC (TF), commanding officer 1st London (City of London) Field Ambulance, who had arrived at Malta to replace the regular RAMC officers at the onset of the war.
Malta 25 Mar 1916 Embarked for Salonica as PMO of the British Forces at Salonica, remaining there till September 1917. Was replaced by Surgeon-General Michael Thomas Yarr, who held the appointment of DDMS (Malta) till the end of the war.
1916 Director Medical Services Balkans. Mentioned in the Salonica despatches of 6 December 1916.
1 Jan 1917 Appointed a member of the Military Division of the Second Class, or Knight Commander, of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB) for valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in the field.
1 Oct 1917 Mentioned in despatches Salonica (Lond Gazette 14 Nov 1917).
July 1918 Appointed an Inspector of Military Hospitals for Eastern Command England. The Eastern Command extended from the Pennines to the Channel, and included the eastern counties, as well as Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.
- Entry No: 6923. Johnston W. 1917. Roll of Commissioned Officers in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol I (20 June 1727 to 23 June 1898. Aberdeen, University Press.
- Succession Books Vol XVII, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
- Salonica Despatch, Br Med J (1916), 2; (2919): 814-815 (Published 9 December 1916).
- Inspection of military hospitals Br Med J (1918), 2; 3003: 37 (Published 13 July 1918).
- Obituary Br Med J (1925), 2; 3380: 676 (Published 10 October 1925).