Lives of the fellows

Raleigh Barclay Lucas

b.3 June 1914 d.10 November 2011
MB ChB Edin(1937) DPH(1939) MD(1945) MRCP(1946) FRCPath(1963) FRCP(1973) FDS RCS(1973)

Raleigh Barclay Lucas was professor of oral pathology at the University of London and dean of the Royal Dental Hospital School of Dental Surgery (RDHSDS). Born in Edinburgh, he was the son of Hessel Lucas, an accountant, and his wife, Minna née Barclay, whose father, Maurice, was a dentist. His mother died when he was a year old and he was brought up by an aunt. Educated at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, he studied medicine at Edinburgh University. After qualifying in 1937, he did house jobs at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from 1937 to 1939.

At the start of the Second World War he enrolled in the RAMC and was initially tasked with immunising military personnel at the Radcliffe Royal Infirmary in Oxford before being posted to India. During his time there, he was promoted to major for his management of an outbreak of typhus.

On demobilisation he trained in general pathology at the Middlesex Hospital and then became consultant pathologist at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, where he stayed from 1947 to 1950. He was then encouraged to apply for a post at the RDHSDS, becoming reader in 1950 and professor of oral pathology in 1952. During his career he built up the department of oral pathology at the RDHSDS and developed it to such an extent that it gained international recognition.

A prolific author, with numerous papers on oral pathology topics to his credit, he is most well known for the textbook Pathology of tumours of the oral tissues (Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1964), which has now reached its fifth edition and appears as Lucas’s pathology of tumours of the oral tissues. Among several other publications were, with Ivor Kramer, Bacteriology for students of dental surgery (London, Churchill, 1966) and, with John Eveson, Atlas of oral pathology (Lancaster, MTP Press, 1985). For the World Health Organisation, he also produced several handbooks on different aspects of oral tumours and for the US Armed Forces a handbook on pathology of tumours of the salivary glands written in collaboration with Arnold Thackaray. He continued to work up until his 86th year.

Outside medicine he enjoyed sailing and reading.

In 1942 he married Violet née Sorrell, a farmer’s daughter, when they were both stationed in Bombay. They had met when he was conducting the military vaccination programme in Oxford and he vaccinated her as a member of the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps. When he died, Violet and their daughter, Victoria, survived him. He was predeceased by his son David.

RCP editor

[BMJ 2011 343 7358 - accessed 6 January 2012; BDJ 2012 212 149 - accessed 5 October 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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