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Biographical entry Hughes, Basil (1878 - 1953)

DSO 1918; MRCS 11 February 1909; FRCS 8 June 1911; BA Cambridge 1900; MA MB BCh 1904; BSc London 1904.

30 March 1878
Hales, Staffordshire
21 November 1953
General surgeon


Born on 30 March 1878 at Hales, Staffordshire the son of Captain John Edward Hughes RN, he was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy and at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he was bracketed fifth junior optime in the Mathematical Tripos, part I, in 1900, and then became a schoolmaster. He soon decided to qualify in medicine and entered King's College Hospital, where he won scholarships and prizes, and was house surgeon and senior house physician. He then held resident posts at the Royal Free Hospital, and at Paddington Green and Great Ormond Street Children's Hospitals. After taking the Fellowship in 1911 he was appointed to the staff of Bradford Royal Infirmary, and in 1913 set up there in private consultant practice.

During the war of 1914-18 he served in France with the West Yorks Regiment, and later as officer in charge of the surgical division at the 28th General Hospital, Salonika, He was awarded the DSO in 1918 and the Order of St Sava of Serbia, and published an account of his wartime practice. On return to Bradford he became assistant surgeon to the Children's Hospital in 1919, and to the Royal Infirmary in 1922. He was also surgeon to the Municipal General Hospital, St Luke's, with charge of one hundred beds. He had a very large consulting practice, and was particularly interested in the surgical diseases of children and in the treat-ment of rheumatoid arthritis. He was a founding Fellow of the International College of Surgeons (1943).

Hughes was a short lithe man, an excellent forward at association football, and a keen and fearless soldier. The charm and force of his personality made a deep impression.

Hughes married twice; his second wife, whom he married in 1932, was Norah Blaney, a distinguished actress and daughter of W H Cordwell of London; she survived him, but without children. He retired in 1945 to farm at Par, Cornwall, where he drove his own tractor till the end of his life. He died in the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, London, on 21 November 1953 aged 75.

War surgery from firing line to base; with H Stanley Banks. 1918.
Classification of war wounds, in Hamilton Bailey's Surgery of modern warfare, 1941.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 25 November 1953 p 11 B; Lancet 1953, 2, 1215 with portrait and appreciations by H Stanley Banks and BHS; Brit med J 1945, 2, 238, and 1953, 2, 1275 by H Hamilton Stewart].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England