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Biographical entry Giuseppi, Paul Leon (1881 - 1947)

MRCS 9 November 1905; FRCS 13 June 1907; MB BS London 1906; MD 1909; LRCP 1905.

5 September 1881
Trinidad, British West Indies
10 November 1947
General surgeon


Born 5 September 1881 at Trinidad, British West Indies, third son of Eugene Simon Giuseppi, planter, and Adela Coryat, his wife. He was educated at St Mary's College, Trinidad, and entered St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College with a Jeaffreson exhibition in 1900; he won a junior scholarship 1901, a senior scholarship 1903, and was Brackenbury scholar in medicine 1906 and in surgery 1907; he took honours in medicine, hygiene, gynaecology, and obstetrics at the MB examination and in obstetric medicine at the MD. He served as house surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, and studied at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. After being senior resident medical officer at Queen Charlotte's Maternity Hospital and at the Royal Waterloo Hospital for Women, he settled as a general practitioner at Felixstowe, in partnership with C G Havell, MRCS. He was appointed surgeon to Felixstowe Cottage Hospital, and became medical officer and public vaccinator for the Woodbridge no 5 district of Suffolk; he was also divisional surgeon to the St John Ambulance Brigade. During the war of 1914-18 he served at the Cliff Hospital, Felixstowe, and in the second world war 1939-45 at the Felixstowe Emergency Medical Service Hospital, and was also medical officer, with the rank of major, to the Home Guard. He practised at Montreal House, High Road, and lived at Trevose, 14 Cobbold Road, Felixstowe.

He took an active part in all local affairs, was a member of the Urban District Council from 1914 to 1947 and at one time its chairman; and was chairman of many local cultural societies. He was secretary of the Suffolk branch of the British Medical Association for twenty-eight years, interrupted only by the term of his presidency of it in 1933-34; he also served on the Council of the Association.

Giuseppi was a great botanist and plant hunter. Until the outbreak of war in 1939 he travelled widely in search of plants, particularly alpines, for he was an intrepid mountaineer. He made frequent visits to the West Country and Wales, and had also spent six weeks abroad every year in this pursuit. He had explored Persia, Russia, Crete, and the Balkan and Iberian peninsulas, he was in Spain and Portugal in 1946, and discovered many rare plants, one of which was officially named after him. He was a member of the Royal Horticultural, Royal Geographical, and Royal Central Asian Societies, and of the Alpine Club. He was a joint founder of the Alpine Garden Society, and its president in 1945. Shortly before his death in 1947 the Royal Horticultural Society gave him its highest award, the Victoria Medal of Honour, founded by the great Queen with a direction that there should be no more holders than the years of her reign.

Giuseppi married twice: (1) in 1910 Andrée Centeno, who died in 1942, survived by her three sons; (2) in 1944 Constance Browning, who survived him, but without children. He died at Felixstowe on 10 November 1947 aged 66 and his funeral was held at St Felix Church. Giuseppi was activated by a strong sense of social and professional duty; he was generous, simple, and devout, but always expressed his decided opinions with vigour.

Medical publications:-

Traumatic rupture of the intestine, recovery after operation, and an analysis of 132 cases in 10 London hospitals 1893-1907; with J Berry. Proc Roy Soc Med 1908-09, 2, surgery section, pp 1-66.
Treatment of urethral stricture. Brit med J 1921, 1, 702.
The method of dealing with accidents at Moscow. Clin J 1935, 64, 470.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 12 November 1947, no memoir, and 26 November, p 7e, appreciation of his botanical work by John Owen; Brit med J 1947, 2, 935, and 1948, 1, 767, will; information from his son, D Giuseppi].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England