Lives of the fellows

Donald Wilson

b.13 April 1908 d.20 October 1978
MRCS LRCP(1931) MB BS Lond(1936) MRCP(1941) FRCP(1970)

Donald Wilson was consultant in rheumatology and rehabilitation at the Royal West Sussex Hospital (St Richard’s), Chichester. He was born at Colchester, the son of Harry Percy Wilson, a headmaster, and his wife Clara Margaret, daughter of John Rogers Bradley, a farmer. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester, and qualified in medicine from St Mary’s Hospital, London, in 1931. Throughout the second world war he served as a medical specialist in the RAFVR. He married Kathleen Tephi, daughter of Edward Geddes Redman, a fish exporter, in 1941. She died in 1962, and in 1965 he married Asenath Olga (Zene), daughter of George Jackson, an antique dealer. He had two children: a son and a daughter.

Immediately after the war he was appointed honorary physician in charge of physical medicine at the Royal United Hospital, Bath. With the commencement of the NHS he was appointed to the Chichester group of hospitals as consultant in physical medicine and rheumatology. He remained in this post until his retirement in 1973. He was president of the section of physical medicine, Royal Society of Medicine, in 1953; and president of the section of physical medicine, British Medical Association, from 1955 to 1956. He was honorary secretary to the Regional Hospital and Specialist Association for ten years and a member of the central consultants committee for five. From 1956 to 1959 he was honorary treasurer of the British Association of Physical Medicine and Rheumatology, and he was also a member of the Heberden Society.

Donald contributed much to the medical scene and social life of Chichester. He built up a very large and efficient department of physical medicine (as it was then called) and was loved and respected by generations of physiotherapists and by his many patients. He was a shrewd clinician and took a special interest in the young disabled. It was fitting that the new department for their treatment was named Donald Wilson House. He was a superb medical administrator in the best sense of the word: many were grateful to him for advice and counsel on medico-political matters. He was a first class chairman of committees, and had a great ability to cut through red tape.

Donald had a delicious sense of humour, gently cynical but never hurtful. Beneath his somewhat stem exterior he was a gentle, sensitive person, and a man of great courage. He rose above much familial and personal illness. He had many interests outside medicine, being a prominent Freemason, an ardent fly-fisherman, and an enthusiastic sportsman. While at St Mary’s he represented the hospital at rugby, cricket, golf and hockey. In later life he took an interest in photography.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1978, 2, 1376]

(Volume VII, page 610)

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