Lives of the fellows

Horace, Baron Evans of Merthyr Tydfil Evans

b.1 January 1903 d.26 October 1963
KCVO(1949) Baron(1957) GCVO(1959) MB BS Lond(1928) MD Lond(1930) Hon DSc Med Coll New York(1959) MRCS LRCP(1925) MRCP(1930) FRCP(1938) Hon FFR(1953) Hon FRCS(1961)

The death of Lord Evans in October 1963 cast gloom over the following Comitia of the College. No more would we see his tall, slightly stooping figure, and behind the lightly horn-rimmed glasses the alert but kindly eyes that inspired confidence in patients and assured a welcome to every colleague. Few men carried high honours so gracefully.

Horace, son of Harry and Edith Evans, was born at Dowlais, near Merthyr Tydfil, where his father, a distinguished organist, conducted the famous choir and almost willed his son to follow him when he sent him at the age of twelve to the Guildhall School of Music. But at eighteen Horace entered the medical school of the London Hospital. By 1929 he had progressed from house physician and registrar to assistant to the medical unit, in which post he did the valuable work with Arthur Ellis and Clifford Wilson on high blood pressure and nephritis that merited his appointment as assistant physician in 1933 and physician in 1947.

He was to hold many other appointments: he was physician to the Royal Masonic, the Royal Buckinghamshire, and Poplar Hospitals, and consultant to King Edward VII Sanatorium and to the Royal Navy. In 1944 he became physician to Queen Mary, in 1949 to King George VI, and in 1952 to Queen Elizabeth II; to each he became much more than a doctor: a valued friend, for to the clinical acumen of Lord Horder he added the great charm of Lord Dawson.

In a crisis he was imperturbable, never offering an opinion that was not a constructive contribution. At heart a simple man, he had that uncanny flair for understanding the personal factor in every individual illness that is more valuable to the patient than laboratory aids to diagnosis.

This same attitude to his fellow-men explains why he was happier in the sociable company of clubs and good dinners than in committees; he always enjoyed the dinners at the Society of Apothecaries of which he was Senior Warden at the time of his death. He was, however, a regular attender at the meetings of the Medical Society of London; he was Lettsomian lecturer in 1949 and president in 1954.

At the College he was examiner, Councillor and Senior Censor, and in 1955 delivered the Croonian lectures. He rendered other valuable services as a trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, as vice-president of the Heart Foundation, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Royal Air Force and of the Board of Governors of the London Hospital.

In 1929 he married Helen Aldwyth Davies, daughter of a former High Sheriff of Glamorganshire. He bore the tragedy of the death of the younger of their two daughters and the distressing illnesses of Lady Evans with the same fortitude that he showed in his own final illness. Horace Evans was truly a great man.

Richard R Trail

[Aberdare Leader, 2 Nov. 1963 (p); Ann. roy. Coll. Surg. Engl., 1963, 33, 387-9 (p);, 1963, 2, 1133-5 (p); Guardian, 28 Oct. 1963; Heart, 1964, 2, 9-10 (p); Lancet, 1963, 2, 949-50 (p); Lond. Clin. med. J., 1964, 5, 15-17; Medical News, 1 Nov. 1963 (p); Times, 28, 31 Oct. 1963. Port., after Sir James Gunn, 1953.]

(Volume V, page 123)

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