Lives of the fellows

Thomas Lionel Hardy

b.15 April 1887 d.16 May 1969
MRCS LRCP(1912) MB BChir Cantab(1913) MRCP(1914) MA MD(1925) FRCP(1929) MD Birm(1948)

Thomas Lionel Hardy was the son of the Rev. T.B. Hardy, and was born at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. He was educated at Radley College, where he was classical scholar, at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and at the Middlesex Hospital where he was Simon Broderip scholar and won the Lyell scholarship and gold medal. He graduated in 1913 and after house officer appointments at the Middlesex and Great Ormond Street was admitted to the Membership of the College in 1914. Immediately thereafter he joined the RAMC and served on the western front until the termination of hostilities, when he had reached the rank of Major in charge of the medical division of a casualty clearing station, and had been mentioned in despatches. On leaving the army he was appointed to the consultant staff of the General Hospital, Birmingham, and later he became chief medical officer to the Wesleyan and General Assurance Society.

Hardy was elected a Fellow of the College in 1929 and thereafter he never missed Comitia. He was a Councillor 1944-47, an additional Examiner for the Membership 1950-54 and served on the Committee of Management 1950-52. In 1944 he was Croonian Lecturer, his subject being Order and Disorder in the Large Intestine. Gastroenterology was always his main interest and he was a founder member of the British Society of Gastroenterology and served as secretary for its first nine years. In 1948 the University of Birmingham appointed him to a personal chair of gastroenterology.

Hardy was a friend and an ardent admirer of Sir Arthur Hurst and of T.A. Ross of the Cassell clinic, and he was among the first to appreciate the importance of psychosomatic influences in alimentary disorders, and to establish the value of surgery in peptic ulceration and ulcerative colitis. Though a superb clinician his outlook always had a strong academic bias and he trained many of the most notable medical and surgical gastroenterologists of the twentieth century.

Tall, thin and distinguished in appearance Hardy had great charm and wit and a tremendous gift for friendship, and he never forgot any of the host of friends, disciples and admirers that he gathered in a long and distinguished career. He was everything that a physician and man could wish to be, and one of the most greatly loved members of the profession. His interests were wide. He was a keen member of the Midland Flyfishers Club and had a profound knowledge and appreciation of music. He was a considerable littérateur and throughout life maintained a keen interest in cricket.

After his retirement he went to live first at Leigh Sinton and then at Alfrick in Worcestershire, contributing generously to the church, the community and to the countryside in which he lived. Even the amputation of both legs for peripheral vascular disease and the advent of leukaemia left him cheerful, undaunted and unselfish and still anxious to give in every possible way to his friends and to his fellow men. He married Elizabeth Clarke Ritchie of Cupar, Fife, in 1914 and there were three sons and a daughter of the marriage. Mrs. Hardy died from hypertension in 1952 and he married Margaret Askham two years later.

AGW Whitfield

[Brit.med.J., 1969, 2, 580; Lancet, 1969, 1, 1106; Berrow’s Worcester Journal, 22 May 1969; Times, 20 May 1969; Birmingham Post, 19 May 1969]

(Volume VI, page 219)

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