Lives of the fellows

Morris Jacob Meynell

b.16 August 1910 d.19 December 1989
BSc NY(1932) MB ChB Sheff(1937) MD(1940) DPH Leeds(1941) MRCP(1949) FRCP(1961) FRCPath(1963)

Morris (Maurice) Jacob Meynell was a polymath in his specialty. He was born in New York, USA, where his father Barnet Meynell was a stationer. His mother was Fanny, née Swerdlin. His early education was in the United States and after graduating BSc in 1932 he spent some months in Heidelburg and Geneva before settling in Britain where he studied medicine at Sheffield University. He was appointed to the staff of the General Hospital, Birmingham, as a clinical pathologist, having served in the RAMC, with the rank of major, as a specialist pathologist, although he was technically an American citizen; throughout his Army career he was in charge of the laboratories of hospitals with 1500-2000 beds. According to Sir Melville Arnott, who served with him in the 21st Army Group in 1944, he was a very popular officer and a splendid clinical pathologist. He became a naturalized British citizen in 1948.

At the General Hospital he provided both bacteriological and haematological services until 1965, when he changed to become consultant haematologist at the associated Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He developed an expertise in diagnostic cytology and when he retired in 1975 his help continued to be eagerly sought: he started a service both at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and in the department of radiotherapy at the General (as he had a special interest in solid tumour cytology) as well as elsewhere in the West Midlands region - such as the Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, and the Midland Centre for Neurosurgery and Neurology. He also worked for the Sandwell Health Authority. He continued this work until he was 73 years old.

He was a humble, self-effacing person with an inborn kindliness of temperament and was always very helpful. He encouraged his junior staff, being strict but fair. An excellent colleague he frequently came on to the ward to that cases could be discussed at the bedside. He was an enthusiast, whether it was sorting out clinical problems, teaching or research - no one could have been more dedicated to his chosen profession. He married Pauline Mary, née Hardcastle, daughter of an estate agent, and they had two sons. One son predeceased him.

C F Hawkins

[, 1990,300,743-3]

(Volume IX, page 361)

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