Dr William James Bennett-Jones

Personal Details 

Dr William James Bennett-Jones MD FFARCS MRCS LRCP

??/??/1873 to 14/12/1948

Place of birth: Coedpath, Wrexham, Wales

Nationality: British

CRN: 715339

Also known as: BJ to colleagues, Jimmy to family

Education and qualifications

General education

School unknown; Edinburgh University Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MBChB, Edinburgh, 1899; MD, Edinburgh, 1903

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

All early house officer appointments, with an emphasis on his intended specialty of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and he held an appointment as a demonstrator in that department at Liverpool University until WW1. However, the financial pressures of a wife and family required that he also worked in general practice and anaesthesia, serving as honorary anaesthetist at the Royal South Hospital. Eventually he became Liverpool’s first full time specialist anaesthetist, working also as an honorary at the Royal Infirmary after WW1, and building a large private practice.

Professional interests and activities

His MD thesis was on hydatidiform mole, but after specialising in anaesthesia he became an expert in the intratracheal technique. He was also known for his skill at induction with open ether, although his surreptitious addition of a little chloroform to the ether bottle may have helped!

Other biographical information

Described as “a memorable and very Celtic man”, Bennett-Jones was Welsh speaking, religious, non-conformist, liberal and well-informed on local gossip, especially regarding anaesthetic accidents. He married Nora, a theatre nurse and sister of Dr Ashley Daly of The London Hospital, and it was her recounting of her brother’s success that encouraged him to specialise in anaesthesia. They had three children (a son became a surgeon) and, a man ahead of his time, he played a full part in their early care, a sip of brandy being the surreptitious component of his skill at getting this group off to sleep at bed-time!

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Gray TC. Celtic influences on the twentieth century development of anaesthesia in Liverpool. History of Anaesthesia Society Proceedings 1993; 13: 6-11 | Obituary. BMJ 1949; 1: 35 | Ancestry.co.uk The evidence suggests that Bennett-Jones’s original surname was simply Jones, his entries in Medical Registers and Directories consistently recording him as William James Bennett JONES, but in all other sources (e.g.1911 Census) he is recorded as Bennett-Jones. Prof Jennie Hunter notes that there were so many “Dr Jones’s” in Liverpool that they often adopted an additional ‘surname’ for identification purposes!