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Biographical entry Smith, Brian Peter Wilberforce (1910 - 1976)

MRCS 1933; FRCS 1939; MB BS London 1935; LRCP 1933.

5 September 1910
7 April 1976
General surgeon


Brian Wilberforce Smith was born on 5 September 1910, went to Mill Hill School and then to Guy's Hospital where he qualified in 1933, proceeding to MB BS in 1935 and FRCS in 1939. His house appointments were at the Cancer Hospital in London and the Royal Infirmary Sheffield. Soon after the outbreak of war he volunteered for service in the Parachute Regiment but developing pulmonary tuberculosis was invalided out. After treatment he joined Professor Aubrey Pannett at the surgical unit at St Mary's Hospital in which establishment he remained until the end of the war. With his wife Dr Beryl Barsby he then went to Mosul in the north of Iraq where they set up a local unit, overcoming such difficulties as lack of instruments by using the local silversmith and finding plaster-of-Paris in a nearby quarry. Next the team went to Johore Bahru in Malaya where they trained their assistants up to FRCS standards. They retired in 1959.

An expert motor engineer and successful rally driver he was also a good yachtsman and, with his wife, from their base in Norfolk he won many races. He was a world expert in skiing and was President of the Alpine Ski Club and Chairman of the Ski Touring Committee of the Ski Club of Great Britain and with his wife set out year by year to ski the whole length of the Alps. It was before their very last lap that he died at the early age of 65.

Among other activities for which in Norfolk he is still remembered with affection is his fencing - he was President of the Norfolk Fencing Club and for the vineyard which he successfully created despite the winds off the North Sea. He died quite suddenly on 7 April 1976.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1976, 1, 1224].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England