Lives of the fellows

Percy William (Sir) Bassett-Smith

b.1 April 1861 d.29 December 1927
KCB(1921) CMG(1918) LSA FRCS DTM&H Cantab FRCP(1918)

Percy Bassett-Smith was born at St. Albans, the son of William Bassett-Smith, and educated at Hurstpierpoint. His medical training took place at the Middlesex Hospital, where, after qualifying in 1882, he held house appointments. In 1883 he passed into the Naval Medical Service and for the next two years served in the Sudan campaign as surgeon on board H.M.S. Rambler. On the same commission he wrote biological and geological reports on coral reefs, and later, from 1891 to 1893, he made further surveying observations from H.M.S. Penguin. In 1900, a year after receiving the Gilbert Blane medal for his journal, he was appointed lecturer on tropical medicine and demonstrator of bacteriology at Haslar. His original work there was recognised by the award of the Cragg’s research prize of the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1906. In 1912 he was selected to fill the chair of clinical pathology at the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, which he held till his retirement in 1921. He was made C.B. in 1911, C.M.G. in 1918, and K.C.B. in 1921.

After leaving the Navy, Bassett-Smith practised as a consultant in London. He was elected assistant physician to the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest in 1921 and physician three years later, and also served on the staff of St. John’s Hospital, Lewisham. To the end of his life, he remained active, cheerful, and kindly— ever the "little gentleman", as he was called with affection and respect. He married Constance Brightman Hastings, M.B.E., daughter of Rev. F. Hastings, and had two daughters. He died at his home in Blackheath.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1928; B.M.J., 1928; Plarr, I, 68]

(Volume IV, page 555)

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