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Biographical entry Dawes, James Desmond Kneipp (1923 - 1994)

MRCS and FRCS 1949; MB BS Durham 1945; MD Durham 1951; BSc Oxford 1952.

28 December 1923
Ryton-on-Tyne, County Durham
13 October 1994
ENT surgeon


Desmond Dawes was born in Ryton-on-Tyne, County Durham, on 28 December 1923, the third son of Joseph William Dawes, a general dealer, and Margaret, née Dodd. He was educated at St Cuthbert's Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, and the University of Durham, qualifying MB B S in 1945.

After Junior appointments at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, and National Service in the RAMC, he went to the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, as ENT registrar and research assistant to the Nuffield Department of Surgery, where he came under the influence of R G Macbeth and G H Livingstone.

From 1952 to 1953 he was Instructor in the otolaryngology department at the State University of Iowa, USA, after which he returned as senior registrar to the ENT department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. He was appointed consultant otolaryngologist to the Newcastle Hospitals and Berwick Infirmary in 1955, and was awarded a personal readership in ENT studies at the University of Newcastle in 1974, where he remained until his retirement in 1984. He was awarded an MD in 1951, and his most important papers were on middle ear surgery - the management of otosclerosis by stapedectomy, cholesteatoma, and the complications of middle ear infection. He was also interested in the diagnosis and management of acoustic neuromas. He was President of the Section of Otology of the Royal Society of Medicine between 1979 and 1980, and visiting lecturer to the Universities of Nijmegen, Holland, and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

He was a popular teacher, and made his undergraduate lectures both stimulating and enjoyable. Outside medicine he was a keen golfer, and had played cricket for Durham University in his student days.

He married Dr Mary Catherine Winters, also a Durham graduate, in 1946 and they had four children: Peter, a clinical oncologist in Newcastle upon Tyne, Margaret, Patrick, an ENT surgeon, and Catherine. He died on 13 October 1994, survived by his wife, children and eight grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 310 1063, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England