Lives of the fellows

David Howard Davies

b.26 November 1910 d.4 April 1970
MRCS LRCP(1934) MB BChir Cantab(1937) MRCP(1938) MD(1949) FRCP(1951)

Howard Davies was born in Bargoed, Glamorgan, the son of Griffith William Davies who owned a chain of shops in Wales. He was educated at Mill Hill School, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and the Middlesex Hospital. After house appointments at the Middlesex and Brompton Hospitals, he served in the Emergency Medical Service at the outbreak of the second world war and later in the RAFVR as Wing Commander. In 1947 he was appointed Consultant Physician to the United Bristol Hospitals. He was a member of the British Cardiac Society and of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland, and served on the Executive Committee of the latter. Affectionately known to all his colleagues and most of his juniors as "Taffy" he was a very successful and popular consultant. His never failing consideration and kindness to his patients led to many years of overwork which his devotion to duty did not allow him to evade. Greatly loved by his patients, colleagues and students he was never too busy or too tired to drive long distances to help a colleague. As might be expected, many of his patients were doctors.

He was interested in teaching and was perhaps best at demonstrating abnormal cardiac physical signs to small groups. He wrote little but contributed a detailed account of acute benign pericarditis in 1952, which was one of the first accounts of this disease in England. His MD thesis, which was never published, dealt with the clinical features of 200 cases of chronic rheumatic heart disease. He played a large part in the development of special investigation and surgical treatment of heart disease in the south west, and was largely responsible for the selection of patients for operation in the early days of the Bristol centre.

He did not like or seek Committee work, but when called on he gave his service freely. From his student days his life-long hobby was motor cars, and he told many good stories about his adventures on the road. In the West Country he took to fishing with great enthusiasm and enjoyment. He was, however, always rather surprised at any success he achieved and almost preferred not to make a catch as he could hardly bear to pull a fish out of its stream.

He married Jocelyn Mary, the daughter of Archibald Rayner, a dental surgeon. They had one son and one daughter; the latter qualified in medicine like her father at the Middlesex Hospital. The last ten years of his life were saddened by his wife’s long illness. She died in 1966, and much to the distress of his friends who did their best to help him, he never recovered his former cheer or enjoyed the happiness he so richly deserved. He faced the symptoms of his last illness with the same courage that he had shown in his misfortunes and died suddenly, as he would have wished, in his beautiful Somerset home.

CB Perry

[, 2, 388; Lancet, 1, 845; Times, 10 April 1969]

(Volume VI, page 143)

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