Lives of the fellows

David Alastair Pearson (Viscount) Waverley

b.18 February 1911 d.21 February 1990
MRCS LRCP(1936) MA MB BChir Cantab(1938) MRCP(1946) FRCP(1957)

Alastair Waverley was the only son of Sir John Anderson, who served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer in Churchill’s War Cabinet and was created Viscount Waverley m 1952. Alastair succeeded him as the second Viscount Waverley in 1958.

After education at Malvern College, Alastair became an undergraduate at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and subsequently at St Thomas’ Hospital medical school. As a tall, strongly built man, he was an outstanding athlete. He represented the university on the track and also over the hurdles and, in 1933, won the Universities Athletic Union Championship 440 yards hurdles. He played soccer for the United Hospitals Association Football XI. His sporting ability was later reflected in a single figure golf handicap. He also enjoyed the countryside and the rural pursuits of fishing and bird watching.

After graduating he filled junior appointments at St Thomas’ Hospital until the outbreak of war, and then served throughout the war in the medical branch of the Royal Air Force. On demobilization he returned to St Thomas’ and was successively registrar and resident assistant physician. It was at this time that he developed his lasting interest m cardiology. In 1948 he married Lorna Myrtle Anne Ledgerwood. They had three children, a son and two daughters.

In 1951 he was appointed consultant physician and cardiologist to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. His drive, and his sometimes rather vigorous determination, established the department of medicine in that hospital and he built up medical teaching in West Berkshire. He was an excellent lecturer, always meticulously prepared and blessed with a sharp wit. He was above all a gifted physician, who was always sympathetic to his patients and junior staff. He was very willing to give his considered opinion, but sometimes found stupidity difficult to tolerate. His wide interests made him an excellent conversationalist and a pleasure to meet socially.

During the years before he retired in 1976, Waverley published informative papers concerning cardiac and vascular disorders. He made many valuable contributions to debates on medical topics in the House of Lords and it was a tragedy that prolonged illness prevented him from making a greater contribution. He had a very strong sense of right and wrong and was always wholly involved and committed to achieving the best for his family, for the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and through his activities in the House of Lords for his profession. There can be no doubt that he was a good man to have on one’s side, be it in sport or politics.

He was survived by his wife Myrtle and two of his children. His son, the Hon John Desmond Forbes Anderson, succeeded to his title. One daughter survived him; the other was killed in a car accident in 1972, which caused him immense distress.

E V Cox

[The Times, 28 Feb 1990;The Daily Telegraph, 23 Feb 1990]

(Volume IX, page 564)

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