Lives of the fellows

Allan Thomas Marsh Roberts

b.9 December 1914 d.8 April 1999
MB BS Lond(1938) MRCS LRCP(1938) MRCP(1940) MD(1947) FRCP(1968)

Allan Roberts, ‘Robbie’ to his colleagues, was a consultant chest physician in Bristol. His father was a general practitioner and he was the great-nephew of Sir John Rose Bradford PRCP [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.391]. He was educated at Epsom College and Guy’s Hospital, graduating in 1938 and obtaining the MRCP two years later. He was in the RAF for five years, serving with fighter and coastal commands as a squadron leader. He was mentioned in despatches. After demobilization he went to the Brompton as a senior medical registrar.

For most of his career the chest physicians in Bristol were based at Ham Green Hospital and at the Bristol Chest Clinic. He and his colleagues coped with an enormous workload, which of course included a large volume of patients with tuberculosis. Being a general physician as well as a chest physician he adapted well to the changes in medical practice resulting from the reduction in tuberculosis.

He will be remembered by his colleagues for his extreme kindness and courtesy. It would be difficult to find anybody who had heard him utter an unkind word. He was always patient, and had enormous energy. Not surprisingly he was much in demand for his opinion and advice, and he developed an extensive private practice.

Although his interest in medicine were primarily clinical, he and his colleagues willingly contributed to the multi-centre trials of tuberculosis organized by the British Thoracic and Tuberculosis Association.

In 1968 his wife Shelia suffered a stroke with hemiplegia but he was determined that they should both continue to lead an active social life. They were generous entertainers at their home in Clifton and were often present together at social events in Bristol. He played his full part in the Bristol division of the British Medical Association. He was president of the division in 1971 and was made a fellow ten years later. He was also president of the Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Society.

Although he retired from his consultant post in 1978 it was sometime before he ceased medical activities. He was a founding member of St Peter’s Hospice and was the Hospice’s first physician, continuing there until 1988. In addition he continued to do an out-patient clinic at Frenchay Hospital for a further three years and continued with some private practice. He also found time to take an Open University BA in 1987. In 1991 he and his wife decided to move to Suffolk in order to be near their daughter.

Roger White

[Brit.med.J., 1999,318,1702]

(Volume XI, page 484)

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