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Biographical entry Whytehead, Lawrence Layard (1914 - 2005)

MRCS 1938; FRCS 1947; BM BCh Oxford 1938; LRCP 1938.

7 February 1914
Easty, Kent, UK
10 July 2005
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Thoracic surgeon


Lawrence Whytehead was a thoracic surgeon in Manitoba, Canada. He was born in Easty, Kent, on 7 February 1914 and educated at St Edmund’s and Charterhouse. He went on to study medicine at Oriel College, Oxford, and then Middlesex Hospital, qualifying in 1938. During the Second World War he served in the RAF in North Africa, specialising in thoracic surgery when he returned to the UK. He was a senior registrar in thoracic surgery at Guy’s Hospital and then first assistant at Brompton Hospital.

At Guy’s he published, with Brock, an influential paper on radical pneumonectomy for carcinoma of the lung. He was the first recipient of the Evarts Graham memorial travelling fellowship, which took him to the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he met and married Nancy, a nurse, who came back to England with him.

In the early 1950s he was appointed as a consultant surgeon at the Brook and Grove Park hospitals. In 1955 he emigrated to Canada, where he set up in practice in thoracic surgery at the Manitoba Clinic. He retired in 1979.

He was very active in church affairs. He taught in Sunday school, was a delegate to the General Synod of the Anglican Church and wrote a book on religious issues (Dying: considerations concerning the passage from life to death, Toronto, Anglican Book Centre, 1980). He was on the board of Agape Table, the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council and the Interfaith Pastoral Institute, which became the Aurora Family Therapy Centre. Many doctors from overseas were helped by Lawrence to qualify for practice in Canada.

He had many other interests, and in retirement at his cottage in Minaki he enjoyed the company of his grandchildren. He died on 10 July 2005 in Winnipeg, leaving his widow Nancy (née Anderson) and four daughters, Mary Holmen, Louise Hunter, Jennifer Copeland and Catherine Whytehead.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England