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Biographical entry Jenkins, John Dudley (1931 - 2002)

MB BS Cambridge 1956; FRCS Edinburgh 1962; MRCS and FRCS 1964; MChir 1971.

7 August 1931
4 August 2002
Urological surgeon


John Dudley Jenkins was a consultant urologist in Southampton. A proud Welshman, he was born in Swansea on 7 August 1931. His father, John Gerwyn Jenkins, was the director of wage negotiations for British Steel in South Wales. He was also 'Roy Allan' in the thirties BBC programme 'Roy Allan and his Premier Dance Band', playing his trombone and French horn. His mother, Dorothy Mary Jones, was a talented pianist, an enthusiastic naturalist and an avant-garde cook. John was educated at King Henry VIII Grammar School, Abergavenny, and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he sang in the college and university choirs, and played rugby for the university second XV and for Caius. His clinical training was at University College Hospital, where he continued to play rugby and starred in Christmas shows. He achieved 'international fame' as Dirk Bogarde's double on the rugby field in the film A doctor in the house.

After junior jobs at UCH, he took a three-year commission in the Royal Navy, where he qualified as a naval diver and did research in the deep pressure diving school at HMS Haslar. He served at sea during the 'cod war'. After further posts in Cardiff and Addenbrooke's, he spent a year doing research under William Stahl in Bellevue Hospital, New York. On his return, he became senior registrar at the Royal Infirmary Leeds under Leslie Pyrah, Philip Clark and R D Williams.

He was appointed as a consultant general surgeon with an interest in urology in Southampton in 1969. At first he shared the emergency general surgical rota with one other general surgeon. He was later joined by a former trainee, Christopher Smart, and together they established a specialised department of urology.

He was a member of the councils of the section of urology of the Royal Society of Medicine and the British Association of Urological Surgeons. He carried out research, in collaboration with the neurosurgical department, into bladder function in spinal disease.

John was an immensely sociable man with a wide range of knowledge, a love of music and the literature of the first world war, which he shared with his colleague John Garfield. Together they went on many walking holidays of the war cemeteries on which they lectured together, and which resulted in Garfield's monograph The fallen (London, Leo Cooper, 1990).

He married Siân Reynolds, a dental surgeon, in 1963. They bought a house in Bursledon with a windmill in the garden, which served as a shed for many years. They handed it over to Hampshire County Council, which restored it as the only working windmill in Hampshire. They often entertained at the Mill House. They had four children, of whom the eldest became a general practitioner in Cardiff. In 1989 they bought a house in France and began restoring it, but sadly increasing illness prevented this from becoming a retirement home. They moved to Cardiff in 1997. He died at home on 4 August 2002.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from Chris Smart, Richard Buckle, Siân Jenkins and Philip Clark; BMJ 2002 325 1306, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England