Lives of the fellows

Bezly Thorne-Thorne

b.20 July 1910 d.13 March 1986
MRCS LRCP(1934) MB BChir Cantab(1935) MRCP(1937) FRCP(1968) DO Oxon(1943)

Bezly Thorne-Thorne was born in Woking, Surrey, the son of Richard Thorne-Thorne, a medical practitioner, and his wife Constance Houghton, daughter of a ship owner. His grandfather was Sir Richard Thorne KCB, a Fellow of the College [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.236]. Bezly was educated at Marlborough College and Caius College, Cambridge, and qualified in medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. At Marlborough, Bezley Thorne-Thorne was lucky to be a pupil of A G Lowndes, one of the great biology masters of that time, who trained both scholars and fellows of the Royal Society. In the Easter holidays Bezly accompanied the biology class to the Marine Biological Stations at Plymouth, or Cumbrae, where they trawled for plankton and other specimens. Once, when he felt sick, Lowndes suggested he ate a raw clam as a ‘kill or cure’ remedy - with disastrous results.

At Cambridge, Bezly was a conventional, average undergraduate of his time - playing games, doing the required amount of work and enjoying May Week balls. He had a lot of good friends among medical students, was excellent company, and enjoyed comfortable living, but he did not belong to the Union, political clubs, or indulge in field sports. Yet underneath his easy going nature he had a strong will, which was useful in later life when he had to contend with awkward colleagues.

From 1940-45 Bezly served in the RAFVR as a medical specialist, with the rank of squadron leader, and spent two years in India. On return to civilian life he had to make a choice between London practice or a rather more secure life in the provinces. A consultant appointment at Brighton Eye Hospital (now the Sussex Eye Hospital) came vacant at the right time and he opted for the provinces - a decision he did not regret. As an ophthalmologist he had a strong medical bent and obtained his membership of the College. He examined for the College and for the Society of Apothecaries of London, and he brought his wide knowledge of medicine into the realm of ophthalmology in Brighton.

Clinically Bezly was very sound, but he had his own ideas about things and he stuck to them. He did not suffer fools and was sometimes irascible in the clinics, and in committee. He was a member of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists and of the Oxford Ophthalmic Congress, a specialist in ophthalmology to the DHSS, and ophthalmic surgeon to the East Sussex Association for the Blind. Particularly close to his heart was his work in connexion with St Dunstan’s at Brighton. A most sociable person, he regularly attended meetings of the Society of Apothecaries and of Bart’s Fountain Club, being master in 1976.

Although small in stature, he was never small in ambition or confidence; he knew precisely where he was going and never appeared to have trouble with his work or innumerable exams. He was an entirely unpretentious person, a caring man, generous and courteous, who epitomised all that is meant by that strangely misunderstood phrase - an English gentleman. He was a man of standards; of behaviour, judgement, and integrity. He saw things clearly, and was without prejudice. He was unfailingly kind, gentle and a marvellous listener. He was indeed a very special person and much loved. The 150 letters received by his widow after his death testify to the high regard in which he was held.

After retirement, he was at his happiest pottering about his garden and cultivating seeds in his greenhouse. He loved a good party and had a tremendous sense of humour; perpetrator of several practical jokes on his friends in his youth. He enjoyed sport; playing squash for the Jesters Club, and was good at both tennis and golf. Music also played a prominent part in his life; he was particularly fond of opera, and enjoyed both concerts and the theatre. His married life was singularly happy. His wife, Ierne, shared many of his activities and theirs was a most cultured and hospitable home. His wife and two daughters survived him.

AS Till
L Thorne Thorne
AH Osmond

[Brit.med.J., 1986,292,1284,1679; Photo]

(Volume VIII, page 507)

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