Lives of the fellows

Raymond Tom Gaunt

b.17 May 1912 d.9 October 1985
MSc Sheff(1934) MB ChB(1936) MRCP(1947) MD(1948) FRCP(1968)

Raymond Tom Gaunt was born in Sheffield where his father, Tom Gaunt, was managing director of a well known firm which manufactured small tools. He was educated at King Edward VII School Sheffield, going on to Sheffield University and Medical School where he graduated, gaining the Holdroyd gold medal. He held house appointments at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary, and was clinical physiologist from 1937-39. Prior to the war, Tom (as he was known) joined the RNVR. In August 1939 he was posted to Malta, where he remained until 1943. He was then posted to Stornoway, in the Hebrides, and later spent two years in Melbourne, Australia. He had married Ruby Anne Phelan in 1939 and she went to Malta with him, and worked there throughout the siege.

After the war, having attained the rank of lieutenant commander, he returned to Sheffield, where he was appointed medical registrar at the Royal Hospital in 1946. He remained there until 1949 when he took up an appointment as consultant physician to the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital, where he was the first physician to devote himself entirely to consultant work. Naturally, he had to deal with general medical work although his special interests were diabetes and cardiology. It was not until 1965 that he was joined by a second consultant. Tom rapidly built up a first rate department in the hospital,and a good private practice. His opinion was widely sought in the district and he had an excellent relationship with the general practitioners.

Tom Gaunt was a fine physician, possessed of exceptionally sound judgement. A good, kind and generous man, he was always concerned with the best interests of his patients rather than merely seeing them as objects of scientific interest. He had a rare ability to communicate with them and they always understood what he was talking about. He was a born teacher and there is little doubt that he could have been appointed consultant to his old teaching hospital, but he preferred to do pioneer work in a fresh field. He enjoyed administrative work and for many years was a member of the Chesterfield Hospital management committee, and of the regional hospital board.

Outside his work, Tom led a full life. He and his wife had a charming house where they entertained their friends in a delightful way. He was good at games and, in earlier life, played tennis and squash racquets for the Sheffield Hallamshire Club. Later on he took up fishing and, after his retirement, painting in water colours. Bridge and caravanning were also among his hobbies. He enjoyed listening to music and was a regular attendant at concerts. But perhaps outside working hours his greatest interest was his family; he and his wife Anne had a son and a daughter, and five grandchildren.

FJ Milward
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

[Brit.med.J., 1985,291,1729; 1986,292,210]

(Volume VIII, page 178)

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