Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry James, John Arnallt (1917 - 2011)

MB BS London 1940; FRCS 1953.

9 June 1917
Gwyfe, Carmarthenshire, UK
7 June 2011
Orthopaedic surgeon


James Arnault James was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Kidderminster. He was born on 9 June 1917 in Gwynfe, a thriving farming community in rural Carmarthenshire, Wales. Both his parents, James and Florence (née Jones) were schoolteachers, and had moved to Gwynfe when they married. John and his sister Nest were both born in the school house. John went to Caterham School, where he was encouraged to develop his talent for music. He seriously considered music as a profession, but finally decided to study medicine. At the age of 17 he went up to University College, London, and qualified in 1940. He then joined the RAMC as a captain. His war years were spent in Jamaica and later in Italy.

After the war he began his orthopaedic training at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and later became a senior registrar at the Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital in Cardiff. In the late 1950s John settled in Worcestershire. He was appointed as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Kidderminster General Hospital, where he was an expert on hip replacement procedures. He also liaised with metallurgists at Aston University on suitable materials for a new type of crutch that supported the wrist and elbow.

In 1967 he became president of the Birmingham Medical Arts Society, which involved organising exhibitions and loan schemes. He was a member of the British Medical Association (BMA) and, in 1982, was president of the Worcestershire branch, the same year he retired.

He had a wide range of interests. In 1962 he purchased Stone Court - an unwanted, run down farmhouse with a large, overgrown garden. John began to farm pigs there, until he had over 200.

He cycled and played hockey as a young man, and later took up another great love - skiing. He went to the Alps with friends every February for nearly 20 years. He also loved to watch cricket and, as a Welshman, was addicted to rugby. He was a member of the Midlands Automobile Club and passed the advanced driving test.

He continued his life-long love of music, and regularly played his grand piano and sang. He also had a passion for opera, especially Wagner and Mozart.

As a Welshman and a Welsh speaker, he loved returning to Wales. He bought a second home near Bala, Gwynedd, and his family and friends enjoyed many holidays there over the years. He also enjoyed travelling abroad, and visited the USA and China (with the BMA), Pakistan and Zimbabwe. For many years he and his wife spent at least three weeks in France every summer.

In 1940 he married Elaine ('Betty'). They had six children - Myf, Louise, Sue, Nick, Chris and Pete. He died on 7 June 2011, just two days before his 94th birthday.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [Funeral address - John Arnault James FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England