Lives of the fellows

Roger Martin Ewart Seal

b.18 January 1922 d.5 March 2010
BSc Wales MB BCh(1945) MRCP(1949) FRCPath(1963) FRCP(1971)

Roger Martin Ewart Seal was a consultant histopathologist at Landough Hospital, Penarth. Born in Ciliau Aeron, Cardiganshire, he was the son of George Ewart Seal, a chief marine engineer, and his wife, Gwladys née Jenkins whose father, David, was a bootmaker. Educated at Llandovery College, he studied medicine at the University of Wales and Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI). Qualifying in 1945, he did house jobs at the CRI before moving to the Royal Gwent hospital for the first six months of 1946. He was then called up to do his National Service and joined the RAF, serving as a medical officer in Suez, Egypt until 1948.

In spite of having gained a distinction in pharmacology when he qualified, he decided to specialise in pathology and joined the pathology department of the Welsh National School of Medicine (WNSM) on demobilisation. Four years later, he became a senior registrar at Sully Hospital, being appointed consultant in pathology there in 1954. He was also a lecturer in pathology at the WNSM. Later he transferred to Llandough Hospital.

He worked principally on the pathology of lung diseases in the farming, mining and industrial communities of the South Wales area and became recognised, both nationally and internationally, as an expert pulmonary pathologist. His enthusiasm and ebullient teaching inspired many trainee pathologists to develop an interest in his field. At Llandough he worked with the Medical Research Council Pneumoconiosis Unit which was based in the hospital. The author of over 50 scientific papers and books on topics such as the pathology of tuberculosis, farmer’s lung, and coal dust related emphysema. His work on the latter was used as the basis of a compensation scheme for coal miners suffering from the disease. He led conferences on lung disease for the World Health Organisation and was a contributor to the WHO Classification of lung tumours.

In his youth he was a skilful and enthusiastic rugby player and was later secretary and president of the Cardiff Medicals Rugby Football Club. He had played in the ‘Meds’ team that beat the full Cardiff side in 1943. He was also a fanatical sailor who was chairman of the Welsh Yachting Association and served as a council member of the Royal Yachting Association. A founder member of the New Quay Yacht Club, he was Commodore for several years and was awarded the title ‘Admiral of the Club’ on his 70th birthday. On one occasion he had dinner on the Royal Yacht. Britannia with Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip. He won many races, regattas and open meetings and also the GP14 Team Racing National Championships. He was still winning races two years before he died.

In 1946 he married Christine Treharne née James whose father, Idwal was a pharmaceutical chemist. She predeceased him in 1996 and he was survived by their two sons, one of whom, Martin, was a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and four grandchildren.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2011 342 851 accessed 26 May 2015; Walesonline - accessed 26 May 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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