Dr Hugh Woodfield-Davies

Personal Details

Dr Hugh Woodfield-Davies BA FFARCS LMSSA DA

04/06/1901 to 18/06/1984

Place of birth: London, England

Nationality: British

CRN: 715353

Also known as: Woody

Surname originally Davies, changed to Woodfield-Davies circa 1939

Education and qualifications

General education

Sherborne School where he was school prefect, head of house, played for the rugby XV and was a sergeant in OTC; Christ Church College, Oxford; St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington

Primary medical qualification(s)

LMSSA, London, 1931

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

BA, Oxford, 1924; DA(RCP&S), 1943

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualifying Woodfield-Davies was house surgeon at the West London Hospital and then resident anaesthetist at St Mary’s Hospital for 18 months (1932-3). No details have been traced for the next two years, but in 1935 he started his connection to the British (later Royal) Post-Graduate Medical School. Hammersmith. It was his ‘base’ hospital, but by the following year he had also become honorary anaesthetist at the Prince of Wales, Tottenham & West End, Queen Square (Nervous Diseases) Hospitals, anaesthetist at Queen Mary for East End and East Ham Memorial Hospitals, and consultant anaesthetist to London County Council. A department of anaesthesia was not created at the Hammersmith until 1950, after which he was described as Consultant/Senior Lecturer, being head of department until Professor (later Sir) Gordon Robson was appointed in 1964, but he continued to work at a range of other hospitals (see Medical Directory for details). He retired from the NHS in 1966.

Professional interests and activities

In spite of his connection with the Hammersmith Hospital, Woodfield-Davies was not an academic, although he was involved in the first successful operation to separate Siamese twins in the UK. He was more interested in anaesthetists than anaesthesia, and was known as one of the ‘characters’ of the London anaesthetic scene. During WW2, and even after the inception of the NHS, he ran an unofficial anaesthetic service for surgeons. They would ring him up, and he would make sure that there was an anaesthetist there for the case. Those who helped with this service were known as his ‘boys’ (even if female) and received some financial reward, but more importantly had their careers “looked after”! A cheerful character, greatly loved by both his ‘boys’ and his surgeons, his retirement dinner filled Apothecaries Hall.

Other biographical information

The son of a surgeon (also Hugh Davies), he married Audrey E Paddon in 1934. She died in tragic circumstances in 1955, and in 1957 he married again, to Winifred Mary Allen. There do not seem to have been any children of either marriage.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Medical Directory | London Evening News, 23/08/1955 |Information from Archivists at Sherborne School, Christ Church College, Oxford University and St Mary’s Hospital. | Recollections of Prof Sir Keith Sykes and Drs Jean Lumley, Maldwyn Morgan & Dickie Fairer. | Calnan J. The Hammersmith 1935-1985: The First Fifty Years. Lancaster: MT Press Ltd, 1985