Peter Gordon Harries

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 05 April 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:753
  1. Simon Harries,
  2. G H Grant McMillan

    Peter Harries, who served as president and honorary secretary for the Society of Occupational Medicine and was made an honorary member in 2002, died peacefully on 26 September 2006, his 75th birthday, from metastatic prostate cancer. Kind, caring, and gregarious, he was an inspired and inspirational occupational physician who earned international renown for his original research and encyclopaedic knowledge of asbestos related diseases. This work was the basis for improvements in working standards that provided life saving protection for countless thousands of workers worldwide.

    Born in Brynamman, Carmarthenshire, Peter was proudly patriotic and cast aside his usual quiet demeanour when encouraging and celebrating the national rugby football team. His funeral service was rich in Welsh songs and poetry. He was educated at Gowerton Grammar School, Ellesmere College in Shropshire, and the London Hospital Medical College, where his interest in industrial medicine was inspired by “the dynamic, sometimes manic, teaching of Donald Hunter.” He played representative rugby football, lawn tennis, hockey and squash racquets and is remembered as a model student. He graduated MB BS in 1955 then, following preregistration appointments in the West Suffolk General Hospital in June 1956, for his national service. He entered the Royal Navy on a three year short service commission in the rank of acting surgeon lieutenant and was immediately in action during the Suez crisis.

    That August he joined the Daring Class destroyer HMS Diana as medical officer. He was soon to see action when on 31 October, the first night of hostilities in the Suez crisis, the Egyptian frigate Domiat opened fire on the cruiser HMS Newfoundland and caused fatal casualties. Domiat, an Egyptian destroyer, was severely damaged by return of fire from Newfoundland and then finished off by the accompanying Diana when it was thought she was trying to ram her. Peter …

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