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Biographical entry Wells, Benjamin Weston (1918 - 1996)

MRCS 1941; FRCS 1947; MB BS 1941; MS 1951; TD 1954; LRCP 1941.

17 February 1918
22 February 1996
General surgeon


Benjamin Weston Wells was born in Wimbledon, London, on 17 February 1918, the son of Sir William Henry Wells and his wife Dorothy, née Horne. Sir Thomas Spencer Wells (qv Lives of the Fellows Vol 2) was an ancestor of his. He was educated at Bromsgrove School and St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, qualifying in the early years of the second world war. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1942, and served in the Middle East and with the Arab Legion. At the completion of the war he continued his association with the army, becoming a member of the Territorial Army and being awarded the Territorial Decoration.

Returning to civilian practice, he became resident assistant surgeon and surgical tutor at West London Hospital, surgical registrar at St Thomas's Hospital and then first assistant at St George's Hospital, before being appointed a consultant surgeon to St Helier Hospital, Carshalton, which remained his principal appointment until his retirement in 1983. He also had sessions at the Nelson Hospital, Wimbledon.

Ben Wells was an all-round general surgeon, with a strong interest in surgery of the gastrointestinal tract. Although he published papers on the treatment of anastomotic ulcers and was a pioneer in hiatus hernia surgery, he was better known for his work in colorectal surgery, being a prominent member of the Section of Proctology at the Royal Society of Medicine, and a member of Council of that organisation. He was an enthusiastic traveller, visiting many European and American cities and reading papers on various colorectal subjects, but published sparsely given his clinical reputation in the field. In 1974 he was made an honorary Fellow of the Mexican Society of Colorectal Surgeons.

He was a stimulating teacher and an amiable companion, being in great demand by registrars wishing to join his firm. He was a Liveryman of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and a Freeman of the City of London. His love of food, wine and good conversation, together with his large cigar, made him a quintessential clubman. His outside interests were shooting, golf and snooker, together with his magnificent Rolls Royce.

In 1945 he married Jean Meadie, an army nursing sister, by whom he had two daughters, and a son who was tragically killed in a road accident aged eleven years. Ben died on 22 February 1996, aged 78.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England