Lives of the fellows

John Leonard D'Silva

b.20 October 1910 d.20 August 1973
PhD(1931) DSc(1940) MB BS(1942) MRCP(1943) FRCP(1969) JP(1969)

John D’Silva was the son of a coffee planter, Albert Robert D’Silva, in Madras, India, who married Kathleen Isabelle daughter of an advocate of the Madras High Court. John came to King’s College in 1926 and took a first class degree in chemistry followed by a PhD at the age of 21 and a DSc at the age of 30. Being attracted to medicine he joined Professor R.J.S. McDowall in the Department of Physiology as a Hailey Stewart Fellow and was put to work on the effects of adrenaline on the blood potassium. For this and his later work he ws awarded the DSc. In 1936 he transferred to a lectureship in physiology at St. Bartholomew’s Medical School under Professor Hartridge. In the same year he married Phyllis Maude Taylor of King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Seeing the opportunity to take a medical degree he did so in 1942, and the following year the MRCP.

On graduation in medicine he rapidly became house physician and first assistant in the Medical Unit and a consultant in the EMS.

Now came his big decision, for his foot was already on the ladder of clinical medicine. He chose to return to physiology, first again as Lecturer but rapidly became Reader. In 1948 he obtained the Chair of Physiology at the London Hospital Medical School where he remained until he was appointed to follow Professor McDowall at King’s College. He was elected FRCP in 1969.

At King’s he rapidly took to his old School. At first he had to build a new Physiology Department and this took a large amount of his time, but he was soon involved in local administration. He was popular with the students and staff alike. He was appointed a Fellow and also Assistant Principal and when the students made a new bar it was called the D’Silva Arms. His general gentleness and charm appealed to all. Nor were his activities confined to King’s. At St. Albans where he lived he was appointed a JP. He was survived by his widow, one son and a daughter.

RJS McDowell

[, 1973, 3, 547; Lancet, 1973, 2, 577; Times, 29 Aug 1973]

(Volume VI, page 156)

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