Lives of the fellows

Leslie Graham Gwynfryn Davies

b.4 August 1922 d.3 October 1986
BSc Wales(1942) MB BCh(1945) MRCP(1950) MD(1956) FRCP(1969)

Leslie Graham Gwynfryn Davies, known to his friends and colleagues as ‘LG’, was born at Brighouse, Yorkshire, the son of Thomas Davies, a physical training organizer, and his wife Lilian, née Drake. Although he was born in Yorkshire, he spent most of his childhood and holidays in Wales. His early education was in local authority maintained schools and he went on to study medicine at the Welsh National Medical School, University of Cardiff, where he graduated after as short a time as a medical student as was then possible, achieving distinction not only in academic studies but also on the rugby field. He was a first class rugby player, known as a tenacious scrummager in the front row and a terrier in the loose.

After graduation he held house appointments at Cardiff Royal Infirmary and then enlisted in the RAF at St Athan as a medical officer, where he served from 1945-47, but listed his war record on his curriculum vitae as ‘strictly none’. After the cessation of hostilities he continued his training in Cardiff, and then at the Hammersmith and National Heart hospitals. In 1960 he was appointed the first consultant cardiologist in Wales; his reference from Paul Wood [Munk's Roll,Vol.V, p.456] described him as ‘...at least the second best cardiologist in Britain.’ They were days when cardiologists and cardiac surgeons would come down to Sully from London on a Friday evening for clinical meetings that would continue well into the night. LG’s time and energies, his care, and attention to detail were shared between the demands of his patients and the experimental transplantation programme. He contributed greatly to solving the problem of post-operative management in the early days of cardiac surgery. His diagnostic acumen was unsurpassed.

‘LG’ was a shy man, which belied the tenacity and the unselfishness which later became his hallmark as a doctor. He was a man of few words and had no small talk, and was diffident to the point of being mistaken for anybody but a consultant cardiologist. But he was totally committed to cardiology - to the benefit of thousands of grateful patients and their families; alone in Wales he looked after the children too, with a compassion sometimes hidden by his shyness. He was indeed a master clinical cardiologist. Discerning students idolized him, as did many who learnt their cardiology from him.

In 1945 he married Grace Price-Stephens, the daughter of a colliery official, and they had two daughters, Wendy and Linda.

Typically, he endured his long illness with dignity, continuing to work almost to the end. His wife and daughters survived him.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
V Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1986,293,1380-81]

(Volume VIII, page 124)

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