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Biographical entry Smith, Herbert Fletcher (1917 - 1987)

MRCS and FRCS 1950; BSc Manchester 1939; MB ChB 1942.

26 December 1917
Farnworth, Lancashire
15 October 1987
General surgeon


Herbert Fletcher Smith was born in Farnworth, Lancashire, on 26 December 1917, the son of James Fletcher Smith, a general practitioner. He was educated at Bolton School before entering Manchester University Medical School where he was awarded the Dickinson Scholarship in anatomy and in 1939 passed the BSc in anatomy and physiology with distinction. He qualified in 1942 and subsequently was appointed to hospital posts at Manchester Royal Infirmary, the Christie Hospital and Withington Hospital. He passed the FRCS in 1950 and during his training worked under Wilson Hey, W R Douglas and Alan Nicholson. In 1958 he was appointed first assistant on the professorial unit at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and two years later became consultant surgeon to the Fylde district, based at Victoria Hospital, Blackpool.

His outside interests were walking in mountainous areas, particularly beyond the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia and also photography. His prowess in photography was rewarded by a fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society and he was later made an admission judge for that body, a considerable achievement for an amateur. His meticulous surgical technique was mirrored in another hobby of model engineering. Tragically he died before completing, by a few weeks, a model railway engine over which he had toiled for many years. In 1959 he married Lilian Lilja, a Swedish nurse from Malmo, whom he met while he was resident surgical officer at the Christie Hospital and there was one son of the marriage. He died on 15 October 1987 and is survived by his wife and son, Peter.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1988, 296, 724].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England