Lives of the fellows

Leslie George Norman

b.20 June 1909 d.17 September 1969
CBE(1963) BSc Lond(1929) MB BS(1932) MD(1934) MRCP(1934) DPH(1941) FRCP(1960)

Leslie Norman was born in Bury, Lancashire. He was the son of George Marshall Norman, an analytical chemist, and of Mabel Edith Oril Norman, daughter of William Harvey, an organist.

After his education at Hastings Grammar School he entered London University in 1926 with a Bucknill Scholarship. He qualified MB BS (Lond) in 1932. He held junior appointments at his teaching hospital, UCH, between 1931-33 and in 1934 became casualty medical officer. In this same year he gained the gold medal in the London University MD examination and took the MRCP. After a short period in general practice, in 1935 he was appointed medical officer to the General Post Office, and in 1938 medical officer to the Ministry of Health. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1942 and served in North Africa, Italy and then in North West Europe as a member of the British Mission on Epidemics. After demobilization in 1946, with the rank of Major, he was appointed chief medical officer to London Transport, and held this office for 23 years during which time he set up and developed a highly efficient occupational health service.

His written works included the World Health Organization booklet Road Traffic Accidents and Epidemiology, Control and Prevention, published in 1962. His Milroy lectures of the Royal College of Physicians were published in 1960 on The Medical Aspects of the Prevention of Road Accidents, and the Mackenzie Industrial Health Lecture was published in 1962 on Advancing Frontiers in Industrial Health. As chairman of the subcommittee on road safety of the Medical Commission on Accident Prevention, he edited the Commission’s booklet Medical Aspects of Fitness to Drive Vehicles. He was editor of the British Journal of Industrial Medicine from 1957 to 1962. He was elected FRCP in 1960, invested as Commander of the Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 1961, and was appointed CBE in 1963.

His outstanding contributions to occupational medicine were recognized by his colleagues by his election as:- President of the Association of Industrial Medical Officers in 1950-51; Chairman of British Members, Permanent International Commission on Industrial Medicine in 1957; President of the Occupational Hygiene Society, 1961-62; Chairman of the BMA Occupational Health Committee 1962-63; and President of the Occupational Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1967-68.

He was recognized as a leader in the field of occupational medicine by his membership of the Industrial Health Advisory Committee of the former Ministry of Labour, the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council of the former Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, the Occupational Health Committee of the Medical Research Council and the World Health Organization Panel of Experts on Industrial Medicine.

As an administrator he had the gift of recognizing the important topics which needed attention and of delegating with complete freedom of action those matters which could be left to others.

As a doctor he was a wise diagnostician and never allowed his administrative responsibilities to blunt his clinical acumen or his humanity. He would take trouble to deal with the personal and social, as well as the clinical, problems of his patients.

He was the kindliest of men who understood other people’s difficulties and commanded the affection and respect of his colleagues and subordinates.

His main hobbies were country walks with his family and the identification, with map references, of wild orchids in Britain.

Leslie Norman married in 1935 Aline Bertha, daughter of Walter Jackson, a market gardener. He had two sons and two daughters. One of his daughters qualified as a doctor and the other as a nurse.

RSF Shilling

[, 1969, 3, 786; 4, 117; Lancet, 1969, 2, 201, 808; Times, 19 Sept 1969; Western Daily Press, 18 Sept 1969; Brit. J. industr. Med., 1970, 27, 77; Brit. med. J. Supplement, Jan 1963, 3027]

(Volume VI, page 360)

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