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Biographical entry Samuel, Eric (1914 - 1997)

CBE 1977; MRCS 1936; FRCS 1939; MB BS London 1936; MD 1939; DMRE 1939; Hon DSc Wales 1981; LRCP 1936; FRCS Edinburgh; FFR.

26 August 1914
Cym Llyn Fell
27 April 1997


Eric Samuel held the Forbes Chair of Medical Radiology at the University of Edinburgh. He was born at Cym Llyn Fell, near Swansea, on 26 August 1914, the son of William Samuel, a mining engineer, and Miriam Jones. He was educated at Ystalyfera Grammar School and the University College of Cardiff, before going to the Middlesex Hospital as the Freeman scholar and graduating with honours in 1936. He swiftly passed the FRCS, gained his MD and his diploma in radiology and was appointed assistant radiotherapist and Duchess of Bedford research scholar at the Middlesex Hospital.

During the war he served in general hospitals in the RAMC, and became an adviser in radiology to the Army and officer in charge of the school of radiology at Millbank, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. For his research on war wounds he was awarded the Roentgen award of the British Institute of Radiology in 1945, the bronze star by the United States Army, and the Czechoslovakian order of the White Lion.

After the war he was awarded a Nuffield Foundation scholarship in 1946 and in the same year was appointed honorary consultant radiologist to the Middlesex, the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London. He decided to emigrate to South Africa, to become radiologist to the South Rand Hospital in Johannesburg, where he established an unrivalled reputation. He was also honorary consultant to the Ministry of Mines and the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit.

He returned to Edinburgh in 1958 as consultant in charge of the X-ray department at the Royal Infirmary. He was an adviser in radiology to the Scottish Home and Health Department and in 1967 was made Forbes Professor of Medical Radiology at the University of Edinburgh.

He was Vice-President of the Faculty (now the Royal College) of Radiologists from 1961 to 1962, and was the author of six textbooks on radiology. In 1977 he was appointed CBE for his services to medicine. He returned to South Africa and became an associate professor in Pretoria.

In 1942 he married Vera Meredith, and they had a son, William, and a daughter. There are four grandchildren. He died of glioblastoma in Johannesburg on 27 April 1997.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Scotsman 2 May 1997, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England