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Biographical entry Bowen, John Glyn (1906 - 1981)

MRCS and FRCS 1932; BSc Wales 1926; MB BS 1930.

13 May 1906
Maestag, West Glamorgan
17 April 1981
ENT surgeon and General surgeon


John Glyn Bowen was born at Maestag, West Glamorgan, on May 13 1906 and was educated at Cardigan Grammar School. He entered the Welsh National School of Medicine in 1924 where he had a distinguished student career and graduated BSc with distinction. In 1927 he entered the London Hospital Medical College to complete his clinical studies, where he gained prizes in surgery and pathology and graduated MB BS in 1930. He held numerous resident posts at the London Hospital, including house surgeon to Sir James Walton and Mr (later Sir) Hugh Cairns. Later he was elected surgical first assistant and then registrar to the cancer and radium departments. The latter post led to study in Vienna and Bucharest and the preparation of a report on cancer treatment in those centres.

In 1938 Glyn Bowen was appointed surgeon and ear, nose and throat surgeon to Barry Accident and Surgical Hospital, an exacting task for he was the only surgeon. The outbreak of the second world war caused more work for him there because numerous casualties from the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy were admitted. In 1946 he was appointed honorary surgeon to Swansea General and Eye Hospital and later to Gorseinon Hospital. He moved with his colleagues to the Singleton Hospital which opened in 1968 and continued his work there until his retirement in 1971.

Glyn Bowen was a remarkably competent general surgeon, never flustered and his calm confidence was transmitted to all around him, especially to his patients. In person he was neat and efficient, as in his operating, and the rapid growth of his practice and the number of colleagues who entrusted themselves and their relatives to his care were proof of the high esteem in which he was held. Teaching was second nature to him and many generations of juniors are grateful for his instruction. He will always be remembered as an outstanding raconteur with a fund of stories of people and places. Glyn Bowen had a most happy family life with his wife Mali and was devoted to his children Christine and Timothy and his grandson Daniel. He died on 17 April 1981, following a stroke.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 282, 1805-6].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England