Lives of the fellows

Ronald Rodger Gordon

b.2 December 1914 d.6 March 2003
MC MB ChB Glasg(1937) DObst RCOG(1941) DCH(1947) MD(1948) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1966)

Ronald Rodger Gordon was a consultant paediatrician in Sheffield. He was born in Helensburgh, Scotland, the son of John Gordon, an engineer, and Jean née Landles, the daughter of an engineer. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and then went on to Glasgow University to study medicine, where he played rugby and was president of the athletics club. He held house officer posts in Glasgow.

At the start of the Second World War, he joined the Army and had a distinguished military career. He gained the Military Cross (MC) for his bravery during the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, when he amputated the leg of a soldier in the street while being bombed and with no cover. He later volunteered for the 2nd battalion of the parachute regiment and again showed extreme bravery: in Tunisia in 1942 he moved forward under heavy fire to treat the injured. He received a bar for his MC in recognition of his actions. Later in the war, at Arnhem, he volunteered to stay behind to look after the wounded, knowing he would be captured.

After the war, he decided on a career in paediatrics. He was a paediatric registrar at Hammersmith Hospital and then, in 1949, he was appointed as a consultant paediatrician in Sheffield, to the City General Hospital, as it was then known. At Sheffield he created a premature baby unit, as well as a special unit for adolescent patients. He also made a detailed study of intersexuality, publishing articles on the subject and a book, The intersexual disorders (London, Baillière, Tindall & Cassell, 1969), written with his gynaecologist colleague, Sir Christopher John Dewhurst.

He was an excellent teacher of both medical students and junior staff. In 1963 he was additionally appointed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which had close links to Sheffield University, and his opportunities for student teaching increased. He also advised on paediatric services overseas and made several visits to Libya and also to Brazil.

In 1939, just a few days after the beginning of the war, he married Barbara Shepherd Dawson, a graduate of Glasgow University and the daughter of a lecturer in psychology. She died just a few months before him. They had a son and a daughter.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J.,2003 326 1461]

(Volume XII, page web)

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