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Biographical entry Tweedy, Thomas Henry (1918 - 2000)

MRCS and FRCS 1948; MB BCh Durham 1940.

23 April 1918
Cramlington, Northumberland
20 August 2000
General surgeon and Vascular surgeon


Thomas Henry Tweedy was a consultant surgeon in Gateshead. He was born in Cramlington, Northumberland, on 23 April 1918, the son of Ernest Victor and Mary Elizabeth Tweedy. His father was an 'outside manager' for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, but also accompanied silent movies, having taught himself to play the flute and piccolo. The oldest of four children, Tom spent his childhood in Morpeth, where he attended the Edward VI Grammar School. At the age of 11, his singing voice was discovered. At first he sang locally in various churches, but later he had a manager, and sang in music hall and theatres around the country, including Blackpool and the London Palladium, often accompanying himself on the violin. In 1932, he recorded songs such as Danny boy, Love's old sweet song, The rosary and By an old abbey door on the Decca label. The recordings were cut directly onto disc as he sang. He also led the school orchestra, and played cricket and rugby.

Destined for an exhibition to study history at Oxford, he changed direction and decided to become a doctor, having been influenced by his lifelong friend Jim (now Vice Admiral Sir James) Watt. He received his medical training in Newcastle, where he qualified in 1940, having won prizes in anatomy, obstetrics and gynaecology, and the Philipson prize in his final year. He did junior posts at Ashington and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he met Monica Dolan, a nurse and later a midwife.

He joined the RNVR in 1941, and served as a Surgeon Lieutenant on HMS Berwick and HMS Wadden on northern patrols and Russian convoy duties, on a hospital ship during the invasion of Normandy, and on a destroyer in the Mediterranean. During this time he kept in contact with Monica. They were married in 1944, and had a son, Denis, and a daughter, Carolyn, who became a dentist. There are three grandsons - Luke, Christopher and Peter.

After the war, he returned to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle as registrar and then senior registrar on the surgical unit, before being appointed consultant surgeon to the Gateshead group of hospitals in 1952. He had a particular interest in vascular surgery and researched hepatic venous return, and developed techniques in mastectomy and mammography. He was a founder member of the Hadrian Travelling Surgical Club, and a past President of the North of England Surgical Society. He was a rich source of North East medical history.

He died on 20 August 2000, having previously suffered from a stroke.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2001 322 113; information from Carolyn Rickleton].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England