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Biographical entry Roberts, John (1901 - 1984)

MRCS 1923; FRCS 1927; MB ChB Liverpool 1923; LRCP 1923.

22 August 1901
7 April 1984
ENT surgeon


John Roberts was born in Liverpool on 22 August 1901, the son of Robert Griffith Roberts, a builder, and his wife Margaret, née Thomas. He was educated at the Liverpool Institute. He qualified MB, ChB with second class honours in 1923, having obtained the Gee Fellowship and the Kanthack Medal. He was house surgeon to (Sir) Robert Kelly, Thelwell Thomas and to Thomas Guthrie who inspired him to take up otorhinolaryngology. He was an industrious student and gained his FRCS in 1927 and forthwith was appointed surgeon to outpatients in the ENT department of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary and also ENT surgeon to Caernarvon and Anglesey Infirmary, Bangor, and to Waterloo and Llandudno Hospitals. He started the school ENT service for North Wales and at Waterloo. He was a meticulous operator and his manual dexterity made routine and difficult procedures look simple. He relinquished all his appointments in Liverpool on the introduction of the National Health Service and concentrated on his work in North Wales based on Bangor where he had a house overlooking the Straits on the exit road to the Menai Bridge.

He retired in 1965 and devoted his time to his many hobbies.

He had a Fyffe class yacht moored close to his home and sailed this himself until the strain of the rigging became too much for him. He then took an extended holiday travelling widely in a motor caravan in America and Canada. He was also a keen gardener and a trout and salmon angler. His etching was precise and he displayed the same care of all the tools used in his hobbies as he had done with his surgical instruments, many of which he had designed for himself; the Robert's Oesophagoscope was widely used. He was a keen photographer and coincidentally sold his house in Rodney Street, Liverpool, to E Chaubré Hardman, the remarkable photographer, and it is now a museum of photographic art.

He died on 7 April 1984 of old age having run a straight course, never having touched alcohol or cigarettes which he abhorred. Remembered as an inspirational teacher he also had a reputation for meanness - he would rather sit up until midnight typing his letters than pay a secretary! He was survived by his wife, Enid, nee Jones, whom he had married in 1932, two sons and a daughter who married an American and was living in Philadelphia at the time of her father's death.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England