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Biographical entry Purvis, Raymond (1904 - 1982)

MRCS 1929; FRCS 1930; MB BS London 1930; LRCP 1929.

30 December 1904
22 November 1982
General surgeon


Raymond Purvis was born in Southampton on 30 December 1904, the second child and younger son of a consultant surgeon, William Prior Purvis, MD, MS, FRCS, and of Dora Raymond, daughter of Walter Raymond, a Somerset author. His paternal grandfather and great grandfather were also medically qualified. Following education at Oakmont Preparatory School and Blundell's, he entered St Thomas's Hospital where he received the Clutton Medal for clinical surgery and qualified in 1929. He always expressed his indebtedness to the late C A R Nitch and the late Philip Mitchener, whose house surgeon he had once been. Having passed the Final FRCS in 1930, he became resident surgical officer at St Thomas's Hospital. He was appointed as honorary surgeon to the Royal South Hants Hospital in 1936 and there developed a thriving surgical practice. On the outbreak of the second world war strong pressure was put on him and a few colleagues to remain in practice. During hostilities he treated many civilian casualties and a later influx of service patients from Europe. As one of his obituarists wrote, 'It was not a glamorous way to spend the war, but his work was greatly appreciated.' Much of his surgery at that time was done in Lord Mountbatten's temporary hospital at Broadlands.

Purvis was a shy and gentle man who took immense personal care of his patients, and he was a sympathetic mentor and guide to his junior staff. He had a healthy abhorrence for committee work and preferred to occupy his free time with woodwork and salmon fishing on the Test and the Torridge. Earlier in life he had been keen on sailing and golf. When in failing health he maintained a large and beautiful garden until his death on 22 November 1982, aged 77, after a long illness. He married Ruth Mary Hawkins in 1934 and they had two daughters and a son. The latter, a general practitioner, is the fifth successive generation of the family to be a doctor.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1982, 284, 61].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England