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Biographical entry Gilford, Walter William (1908 - 1966)

FRCS 1940; BSc Oxford 1929; BM BCh 1936; DA 1941; DORCOG 1939.

5 May 1966
General surgeon


Walter Gilford was the eldest son of a general practitioner who practised in Reading and he received his early education in Reading School. He soon showed great talent for physical sciences gaining the highest marks on record at his school for physics and mathematics in the old Higher School Certificate. He later gained a scholarship to Oxford and obtained a first class degree in physics while carrying out research into the production of minute X-ray tubes for the treatment of malignant disease. After leaving Oxford he took a post as demonstrator of physics at Guy's Hospital Medical School but soon decided to study medicine and eventually qualified in 1936. Surgery became his main interest and he took his Fellowship in 1940 after moving with the Guy's Unit to Farnborough Hospital in Kent.

All through the Battle of Britain Gilford worked hard in the capacity of casualty surgeon and the lack of sleep combined with heavy work may well have contributed to the subsequent deterioration in his health. In 1941 he took the diploma of DA and in the same year moved to Pembury Hospital where he worked until his death. In 1949 he married and then began the happiest and most fruitful period of his life in which he combined work of great value with a happy home life. Gilford was a good surgeon, painstaking and conscientious and was noted for the excellent training he gave to his junior staff.

Apart from his work Gilford's main interests were music, history and politics.

He died suddenly on 5 May 1966 and was survived by his widow and their three children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1966, 1, 1366].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England