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Biographical entry Griffiths, William Layard (1871 - 1935)

MRCS 1 August 1901; FRCS 12 June 1902; BA Cambridge 1893; BSc London 1893; MD 1901; LRCP 1901.

1 May 1871
21 September 1935
Llandrindod Wells
General surgeon


Born at Swansea on 11 May 1871 the third child and only son of Thomas Durslyn Griffiths, MD (1837-1914), a former president of the British Medical Association, and Frances Annette Secretan Gabb, his wife. His mother was the third daughter of the Rev J F Secretan Gabb, of Balcarres, Charlton Kings, Glos. W L Griffiths was educated at Swansea Grammar School, at Bath College, and at Llandovery College. He entered Caius College, Cambridge with an exhibition on 1 October 1890 and took his BA degree as a junior optime in 1893. He then entered as a medical student at St George's Hospital, but transferred to University College Hospital, where he served as house surgeon. He served as a civil surgeon with the South African Field Force from 1899 to 1901 and was appointed assistant physician to the New Somerset Hospital, South Africa. During the war of 1914-18 he was gazetted captain, becoming major RAMC (T), and acted as operating surgeon at the Military Hospital, Parkhall Camp, Oswestry from 23 October 1915. At the Swansea General and Eye Hospital he was anaesthetist 1908-12, out-patient medical officer and assistant surgeon 1912-13, and surgeon from 1913 until his death. He was also surgeon to the Tawe Lodge Infirmary, Swansea. He died unmarried at Llandrindod Wells on 1 September 1935, and was buried at Oystermouth, Mumbles.
Griffiths was a good surgeon and an excellent witness. On one occasion in Court he was explaining why surgeons hesitate to explore without good reason. "I understand that also applies to trephining" said the judge. "Yes, your honour", came the instant reply, "they never know whether they will find anything."


General septicaemia and toxaemia from oral sepsis. Brit dent J 1912, 33, 48.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1935, 2, 647 ; information given by his sister, Miss Gwenny Griffiths; Venn Biographical history of Gonville and Caius College, vol 2].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England