Dr Brian Rait-Smith

Personal Details

Dr Brian Rait-Smith

25/12/1903 to 14/07/1903

Place of birth: Strixton, Northamptonshire

Nationality: British

CRN: 715401

Education and qualifications

General education

All Hallows School, Honiton; Jesus College, Cambridge, playing for the first XV; Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

BA, Cambridge,  1926; DA(RCP&S), 1935

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Appears to have started training in anaesthesia straight after qualifying, working as resident, then senior resident at Bart’s until he joined the honorary staff in 1937, a position he held until his early death in1949. He was in the very first group to pass the DA and also held appointments at Hammersmith, Brompton & Papworth Hospitals as well as being consultant anaesthetist to the then LCC. During WW2 served in the EMS at Hill End Hospital, and afterwards became full-time at Bart’s.

Professional interests and activities

A highly skilled, imperturbable clinician he specialised in anaesthesia for neuro- and cardio-thoracic surgery, making original observations on the latter (see Lancet 1948; 251: 674-6).  A valued teacher, especially of neuroananesthesia, he also pursued interests in obstetrics, curare and trichlorethylene. His work was one of the major reasons for the success of Hill End Hospital during WW2. 

Other biographical information

Rait-Smith suffered a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage in 1942 and he underwent two major surgical procedures, but died suddenly after working earlier in the day with the aneurysm considered to be the cause. He was married twice (first to Alice Irene Spencer, second to Marie Lorraine Clifford), but no children have been traced.


Author and Sources

Author: Dr Robert Palmer & Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituaries. BMJ 1949; ii: 234 & Anaesthesia 1949; 4: 198-9| Archives of Jesus College, Cambridge (ref JCHR/1/3) | Ancestry.co.uk | A photograph may be seen at onlinelibrary.wiley.comdoi/10.1111/j.1365-2044.1949.tb05842.x/epdf