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Biographical entry Etherington-Smith, Raymond Broadley (1877 - 1913)

MRCS June 13th 1907; FRCS June 13th 1907; MA MB BCh Cantab 1903.

19 April 1913
General surgeon


The second son of J R Etherington-Smith, Recorder of Derby and a bencher of the Inner Temple, his mother being a daughter of Sir Thomas Pears, KCB. He went to Repton in 1890 and left in 1893, without distinguishing himself apparently at work or at games. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1895, and took his BA degree in 1899. His first two years at Cambridge were comparatively uneventful, but in his third and fourth years he established his reputation as a first-rate oarsman. When he began to row, the University Club was torn by dissension, and it was mainly due to his charming gifts of character and wise guidance that Cambridge was able to come to its own on the river. He rowed three times for Cambridge, and was President of the University Boat Club in 1899 when Cambridge won the boat race for the first time after nine consecutive defeats by Oxford. He captained Leander during four seasons, and in 1908 he was Captain of the United Kingdom Eight which beat the Belgian Crew in the Olympic Regatta.

He entered St Bartholomew's Hospital from Cambridge in 1900, with the highest reputation both on account of his athletic prowess and his personal qualities. He was a magnificent specimen of a man, tall, lean, with wavy fair hair, of the type loved by the Grecian sculptors. He had a host of friends who ardently admired him and affectionately called him 'Ethel-Smith'. Not that there was anything feminine about him, for he was eminently virile both in his physique and in his attitude to life and men. He went through his ordinary career as a medical student without special distinction, and graduated MB, BCh at Cambridge in 1903, at the same time taking his MA degree. In 1903 he was appointed Ophthalmic House Surgeon to W H H Jessop and Mr Holmes Spicer, and, on completion of this office in 1904, House Surgeon to Bruce Clarke. In 1905 he became Extern Midwifery Assistant, and later Resident Administrator of Anaesthetics, thus completing a period of two years and three months upon the resident staff.

In 1906 he was elected Junior Demonstrator of Anatomy in the Medical School, having Mr C E West and Mr Gordon Watson as his senior colleagues. In 1907 he was admitted FRCS, and in 1908 he was appointed Surgical Registrar to the West London Hospital, and later, in 1910, Assistant Surgeon. In September, 1909, he was chosen Warden of the College at St Bartholomew's Hospital upon the resignation of Mr G E Gask, a post he retained until his death. This office he filled with much advantage to the hospital, for his influence on the students was great and good. In 1910 he was chosen Surgical Registrar with Mr Elmslie, and in 1912 Assistant Surgeon to the hospital.

He died on April 19th, 1913, after a two days' illness. He contracted a pneumococcal peritonitis operating on a patient with an abscess of the lung. A laparotomy was performed, but he never rallied.

A Memorial Service was held in the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, his coffin being borne from the hospital to the church on the shoulders of intimate friends who had been his colleagues. He was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery.

There are two memorials to Etherington-Smith. One is a tablet in the Chapel at Repton School, and the other is a two-bedded ward for the use of the Resident Medical Staff of St Bartholomew's Hospital. On the wall of this ward is a representation of his head in bas-relief, and there is a commemorative tablet in the operating theatre below it. The old operating theatre of the hospital, known as the 'Abernethy Theatre', was also reconstructed in his memory.

Sources used to compile this entry: [St. Bart.'s Hosp. Rep., 1913, xlix, 1913, with portrait. St. Bart.'s Hosp. Jour., 1913. May, xx, 125, with portrait - an excellent likeness. Brit. Med. Jour., 1913, I, 915. Personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England