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Biographical entry Ainley, Roger Gwynne (1932 - 2006)

MRCS and FRCS 1967; BA Oxford 1956; BM BCh 1959; DO 1963; LRCP 1967; FRCOphth 1990.

8 September 1932
Fringford, Oxfordshire, UK
Ophthalmic surgeon


Roger Gwynne Ainley was an ophthalmic surgeon in the Merseyside area. He was born in Fringford, Oxfordshire, on 8 September 1932. His father, Joe Ainley, was a headmaster and his mother, Dora (née Carter), was a music teacher, both in schools and freelance. The family are related to the Shakespearian actor Henry Ainley.

Roger Ainley attended Lord Williams’ Grammar School, Thame, and then the Old Grammar School, Bicester, from 1943 to 1950. His studies were then interrupted by National Service in the Royal Air Force for two years. In 1952 he went to Keble College, Oxford, to read zoology, but a year later changed to medicine. His clinical training was also in Oxford. His medical and surgical house jobs were at the Radcliffe Infirmary and then he began his formal ophthalmological training as senior house officer and registrar at Oxford Eye Hospital from 1961 to 1963. From 1965 to 1969 he was a lecturer and then senior lecturer at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. During this period, in 1968, he was awarded the George Herbert Hunt travelling scholarship and visited ophthalmic departments in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Ohio State University. In 1969 he was appointed consultant ophthalmic surgeon to Merseyside Regional Health Authority and was postgraduate medical tutor to the Wirral Group from 1974 to 1976.

He was a member of the Oxford Ophthalmological Congress, a charter member of the International Association of Ocular Surgeons and a member of Wallasey Medical Society, becoming president in 1989. He wrote quite widely on ocular subjects, but was particularly interested in vitamin B12 levels in ocular fluids and tobacco amblyopia.

His other interests were diverse – music, playing the clarinet, sailing, squash and particularly a lifelong interest in butterflies and moths. Initially he collected specimens and his collection covered all European countries, USA, Thailand, Morocco, Costa Rica, Kenya, the Gambia and Mediera. Later he became more interested in conservation and was a member of the Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society, Butterfly Conservation and Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Between 1963 and 1991 he had six papers on butterflies and moths published in The Entomologist and The Entomologist’s Record.

In December 1959 he married Jean Burrows, a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. They had two children, Elizabeth Anne, born in 1965, who is a chartered accountant, and Timothy Charles, born in 1967, a linguist. Roger Ainley died in 2006.

Enid Taylor

The Royal College of Surgeons of England