Lives of the fellows

Maurice Alan (Sir) Cassidy

b.29 February 1880 d.22 October 1949
GCVO(1949) KCVO(1934) CB(1929) BA Cantab(1901) MB BS(1905) MA MD MRCS FRCP(1913)

Maurice Cassidy was born at Lancaster, the son of Dr. David McKay Cassidy, C.B.E, who for fifty years was superintendent of the Lancaster Mental Hospital. He was educated at Lancaster Grammar School and Clare College, Cambridge, where he gained first-class honours in both parts of the natural sciences tripos, graduating as B.A. in 1901. He qualified from St. Thomas’s Hospital four years later and, passing through the usual resident appointments, was elected physician to outpatients in 1912 and received charge of the electrocardiographic department shortly afterwards. During the 1914-1918 War he served as physician to the Anglo-Belgian Fever Hospital at Calais till 1916, when he was invalided home with pulmonary tuberculosis, from which he recovered after two years. Then began his life’s work as a leading physician and teacher at St. Thomas’s and as an eminent consultant in general medicine with a particular interest in cardiology. He postponed his retirement from the Hospital on account of the 1939-1945 War, in which he set a fine example by his unfailing and strenuous devotion to duty.

Cassidy also held appointments at the Lord Mayor Treloar Cripples’ Home, the King Edward VII Sanatorium, Midhurst, and the Children’s Heart Hospital at West Wickham. He was chief medical officer to the Metropolitan Police till 1929 and received the C.B. on his resignation. In the next year he was chosen as Physician to the Royal Household and in 1932 as Physician-Extraordinary to the King. He retained this latter appointment under Edward VIII and was made Physician-in-Ordinary at the accession of George VI. He was created K.C.V.O. in 1934 and promoted to G.C.V.O. in 1949, the King visiting him on his sick bed to invest him with this last honour. Cassidy became Senior Censor of the Royal College of Physicians and delivered the Goulstonian Lectures in 1914 and the Harveian Oration in 1946. He examined for the Conjoint Board and Cambridge, London, Edinburgh and Manchester Universities. From 1946 to 1948 he was president of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Cassidy was not prominent in committee work or administration, but as a physician and teacher his reputation reached the first rank in the years between the Wars. His kind nature shone through a somewhat diffident, though courteous, bearing, and his ambition was to serve and satisfy the needs of his patients. His recreations were fishing and deer-stalking. He married in 1918 Elsie Reife; they had no children. He died in London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1949; B.M.J., 1949; Al.Cantab., I, 536]

(Volume IV, page 528)

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