Lives of the fellows

Alan Boulton Myles

b.2 August 1928 d.18 September 2010
MB BChir Cantab(1953) MRCP(1960) FRCP(1976)

Alan Myles was a consultant physician at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey. His training and interest was in general internal medicine, specialising in the rheumatic diseases. He was born in India, and came from a medical background: his father, Robert Boulton Myles, was a consultant radiologist and an RAMC doctor of high rank. His brother became a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon. He was educated at Windlesham House School, Sussex, and then at Wellington College. He studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and then at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, qualifying in 1953. He held house officer posts at St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, and Edgware General Hospital, before his National Service in the RAMC, from 1954 to 1956.

He first became interested in rheumatic diseases as a senior registrar to Sir John Richardson (later Lord Richardson) [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web] at St Thomas’ Hospital. He later worked at Charing Cross Hospital with Oswald Savage [Munk’s Roll, Vol.X, p.432], who encouraged his lifelong interest in corticosteroid therapy in rheumatic and other conditions. He was appointed as a consultant physician in the department of rheumatology at St Peter’s, North West Surrey Health District, in July 1968.

He published many papers and presentations, but his major contribution was a textbook he published jointly with J R Daly, Corticosteroid and ACTH treatment: principles and problems (London, Arnold, 1974). Perhaps his main clinical research was on giant cell arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica, a follow up of over 300 patients on steroid treatment, which is still consulted.

He had a great sense of humour, was extremely witty and kind about his colleagues, but soon saw through silliness and pomposity. He had a penetrating, questioning mind; at meetings he would ask points which nobody else thought of and he always said that if he had nothing useful to say he would keep quiet. We travelled to meetings and conferences together in Japan, the Far East, USA and Europe. It was always fun and I can never recall a harsh word.

Outside medicine, he was a great follower of cricket, tennis and golf. He was a member of Surrey County Cricket Club and was often seen at the Oval. However, he had a lifelong hatred of rugby dating from his school days, and tried to avoid the game as much as possible. Really his favourite sport was fly fishing. He bought a book on the subject at Waterloo Station to read on the train one day returning to school and he was hooked for life. He was an inspiration to one of my sons who became his pupil; they would travel for miles to fish and he was most generous with his catches. Another pleasure was music. He was very knowledgeable on the subject, had a fine baritone voice, and sang with the Woking Choral Society.

In 1963 he married Elizabeth Elna Joy Green, the daughter of a surveyor. They had two sons, Mathew and Nicholas. Neither of his sons chose to follow him into a medical career.

Alan will be remembered as a fine, all-round physician and a great well-read colleague with many friends from all walks of life and professions.

E N Coomes

(Volume XII, page web)

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