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Biographical entry Welpy, William Rupert (1912 - 1970)

MRCS 1935; FRCS 1945; MB BS London 1946; LRCP 1935.

24 June 1970
Orthopaedic surgeon


He was born in London in 1912, and received his early education at Doon House Preparatory School, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent. He then went to Uppingham and was promoted to the scientific sixth form in his fourth year. In 1930 he was enrolled as a medical student at the London Hospital Medical College.

Welply did well at the London and gained the Dissecting Prize in anatomy, and Dressers' Prize in clinical surgery. He gained his first team colours in fives and first team colours in sailing. He was a member of the United Hospitals Sailing Club and of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. He was a member of the winning team in the Olympic Games Trial Races and was chosen to represent Great Britain in the 1936 Olympic Games held in Germany. After qualifying in 1935 he held various house appointments at the London Hospital, including registrar to the ear, nose, and throat department. Although he volunteered for all three fighting services at the outbreak of the second world war he was rejected because he had had a radical mastoidectomy performed on his left ear and this was a bar to active service.

After obtaining his Fellowship in 1945 he spent three years as consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the Kailan Mining Administration, Tong Shan, Hopei, Northern China, where he gained a wide experience of orthopaedic surgery. With the advent of communism he left China and joined the Manitoba Clinic in Winnipeg. He was very active medically and administratively in various hospitals in which he worked, becoming chief of orthopaedics at the Grace Hospital, Winnipeg, and acting chief of the orthopaedic department of the Children's Hospital of Winnipeg.

He was a member of many medical societies, including the British and Canadian Orthopaedic Association. He continued his sailing activities and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Manitoba Sailing Association. He was a judge in the Pan-American Games and Lake of the Woods Annual International Regatta. Welply's main interest was in paediatric orthopaedics and he contributed much time and skill to the treatment of the many victims of poliomyelitis resulting from the epidemics in the 1950's. He was also interested in the treatment of scoliosis and wrote several papers on this subject. He was a good clinical teacher and a sound practical surgeon.

In 1942 Welply married Margaret Ivy McWhirter, a nurse whose parents were missionaries in China, and they had a very happy family life with three children, two sons and a daughter. Early in 1970 he left Winnipeg, apparently perfectly well, to attend the Combined Orthopaedic Association meeting in Australia, but when in London he had to be admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers where an exploratory laparotomy revealed a cancer of the head of the pancreas with extensive metastases from which he died on 24 June 1970. His wife and children survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Canad Med Assn J 1970,103, 1202; J Bone Jt Surg 1971, 53, 551].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England