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Biographical entry Shaw, Henry Jagoe (1922 - 2007)

VRD 1970; MRCS and FRCS 1950; BM BCh Oxford 1944; MA 1946; MD New York 1954.

16 March 1922
Stafford, Staffordshire, UK
1 August 2007
Head and neck surgeon and Otolaryngologist


Henry Shaw was a pre-eminent otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon. He was born in Stafford on 16 March 1922, the son of Benjamin Henry Shaw, a physician, psychiatrist, artist and fisherman, and Adelaide née Hardy, who became a JP and Staffordshire County councillor. His father came from a distinguished Anglo-Irish family with one relative an army surgeon at Waterloo, another in the 32nd Foot in the same campaign; George Bernard Shaw was an ancestor.

Educated at Summer Fields School, Oxford, and Eton College, Henry Shaw read medicine at Oxford University and the Radcliffe Infirmary, where he held junior appointments. Perhaps influenced by R G Macbeth and G Livingstone, otolaryngologists at Oxford, he became registrar and senior registrar at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear (RNTNE) Hospital and Guy’s Hospital, London. He was appointed to a Hunterian professorship at the College (1951).

After a fellowship and residency at the Sloan Memorial Hospital, New York (1953 to 1954), Henry Shaw was appointed assistant director of the professorial unit and senior lecturer at the RNTNE Hospital and the Institute of Laryngology and Otology. During this time he spent a further year in New York as senior resident at the Bellvue Hospital. In 1962 he was appointed consultant ENT surgeon to the RNTNE Hospital. This appointment was combined with a consultancy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, an honorary consultancy to St Mary’s Hospital and the post of ENT surgeon to the Civil Government and St Bernard’s Hospital, Gibraltar. In addition he was civilian consultant ENT surgeon to the Royal Navy. He retired in 1988.

Henry Shaw’s professional life was devoted to the care of those suffering from cancer of the head and neck. His appointments at the Royal Marsden and RNTNE Hospital enabled him to lead the field in this aspect of otolaryngology. He wrote many publications, lectured nationally and internationally, and became a founder member and treasurer of the Association of Head and Neck Oncologists of Great Britain, president of the section of laryngology, Royal Society of Medicine, member of council, executive committee and professional care committee of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Foundation and a member of the Armed Services Consultant Appointment board.

During the Second World War Henry Shaw served as a surgeon lieutenant in the RNVR. He continued in the Royal Naval Reserve, advancing to surgeon lieutenant commander. He was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration in 1970.

Henry Shaw was a gentlemanly person who achieved a great deal in a quiet way. He was never happier than when sailing boats of any kind. His long family association with St Mawes in Cornwall (where he eventually retired) enabled him to indulge fully in this hobby. He married Susan Patricia Head (née Ramsey) in 1967. They had no children of their own, but he gained a stepson and stepdaughter. The marriage was dissolved in 1984 and he married Daphne Joan Hayes (née Charney) in 1988, from whom he gained a further two stepdaughters. He died on 1 August 2007.

Neil Weir

The Royal College of Surgeons of England