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Biographical entry Williams, Evan William Meurig (1907 - 1985)

OBE 1978; KStJ 1970; MRCS 1931; FRCS by election 1970; BSc Wales 1929; MB BCh 1935; MCh 1959; LRCP 1931.

14 December 1907
Mountain Ash
21 October 1985
Orthopaedic surgeon


Evan William Mcurig Williams, the son of William John Williams, a coalminer, and of Alice Williams (née Davies), was born at Mountain Ash on 14 December 1907. He was educated at the primary and grammar schools in Mountain Ash and at the Welsh National School of Medicine where he was Alfred Sheen Prizeman in anatomy and physiology, 1927. He then moved on to Guy's Hospital where he won the treasurer's gold medal for surgery in 1931. After qualifying he was genitourinary and orthopaedic houseman at Guy's and then in general practice and medical officer to Harrow Hospital from 1936 to 1942. He joined the Royal Air Force Medical Service in 1943 as an orthopaedic specialist and attained the rank of Squadron Leader. On demobilisation he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital, Rhydlafar, Cardiff, where he pioneered, and was in charge of, the spinal injuries unit. He was also consultant orthopaedic surgeon to the East Glamorgan and Merthyr Hospitals. In 1959 he was awarded his MCh for a thesis on spinal injuries and in 1970 was elected FRCS. He became a noted authority on spinal injuries and introduced the Meurig Williams fixation plate for the treatment of spinal fractures. In his earlier training he acknowledged his indebtedness to WH Trethowan, C Lambrinudi, Ralph Thompson, Sir Reginald Watson-Jones, Sir Henry Osmond-Clarke and AO Parker.

Meurig was associated for over 50 years with the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, becoming a Knight of the Order and, at the time of his death, holding the post of Bailiff of St David's, third in the Welsh hierarchy of the Priory for Wales Order of St John of which he was vice-chancellor. The day before he died he had unveiled a plaque at a church in North Wales to commemorate its association with the Order of St John. In 1961 he became a freeman of Mountain Ash Urban District Council and was awarded the OBE in 1978.

A fluent Welsh speaker and scholar, Meurig was a white bard member of the Eistedfodd Gorsedd and a life member of the Honourable Society of Cymrodorion. He published many articles on the subject of spinal injuries and also produced a film about their treatment. Not surprisingly, he was much sought after as a speaker on this subject at home and abroad. He also translated a St John first aid manual into Wclsh. Always tireless in his work, he was a kindly, sympathetic man who worked long hours during the Aberfan disaster. He was married in 1936 to Miss Davies by whom he had two daughters, Elizabeth and Glenys. After her death he married Peg Grubb in 1960 and they had one son, Rhodri. At the time of his sudden death, aged 77 years, on 21 October 1985, he was survived by his second wife, the children of both marriages and three grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1985, 291, 1433-1434].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England