Dr Ashley Skeffington Daly

Personal details

Dr Ashley Skeffington Daly FRCS FFARCS(Hon) LRCP DA

12/07/1882 to 15/09/1977

Place of birth: Hackney, London

Nationality: British

CRN: 715245

Education and qualifications

General education

Merchant Taylors’ School; The London Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS(Hon) by Election

Year of Fellowship


Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Daly’s career began with a three year series of house appointments (a rotation in modern terms) at The London, this including a period as house anaesthetist. He was elected anaesthetist and assistant instructor in anaesthetics at the same hospital in 1910, became senior instructor and head of the department in 1926, and retired in 1947. In between, he served in the RAMC during both World Wars, a Captain during WW1, he rose to the rank of Brigadier as consultant anaesthetist and adviser in anaesthetics to the Army during WW2.

Professional interests and activities

Having been taught by Sir Frederick Hewitt, Daly emphasised safety and, with many anaesthetics being given by the house staff, ensured that students were taught safe, practical techniques with emphasis on maintaining a clear airway. An expert at traditional inhalational anaesthesia he saw the introduction of endotracheal intubation, IV induction and neuromuscular blockade, mastered them all and applied the same, safety first, approach, especially to doses for IV induction, in teaching them to others.

He made major contributions to the organisations of the specialty: Section of anaesthetics, RSM – honorary secretary (1916/17), president (1928/9); AAGBI – member of both the original founding committee & first Council (1932-5), president (1941-4), honorary member (1956).

However, perhaps his major contribution came during WW2 because application of the same principles of training used at The London produced the large number of safe anaesthetists needed by the Army. The standard of practice shown by this group were vital in the establishment of anaesthesia as a specialty equal with others at the inception of the NHS in 1948. His work was recognised by award of the DA ‘without examination’ (1935), and election as both FRCS (1944) and FFARCS (1948), the latter one of the very few which have been honorary. It is surprising that his war work brought no honour from the Crown.

Other biographical information

Daly wrote the RAMC contribution to the anaesthetic section of the Official History of WW2, and as well as producing an excellent training programme he ensured that every anaesthetist in the army knew that friendly guidance was always available.

Author and sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. Anaesthesia 1978; 33: 387-9