Leslie Russell Davis

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 13 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3717
  1. A J Bellingham

From the start, Leslie Russell Davis clearly showed determination, and once he had made his mind up on a course of action he stuck to it. His early career was interrupted by national service. Having been posted to the Royal Air Force, he successfully applied for transfer to the army, where he was stationed in West Africa. Following this, he joined the Territorial Army and stayed with them until 1976.

The West African experience changed him from a physician to a haemato-pathologist. Other than a short period at the Royal Free Hospital during training, his clinical career was in south east London, first at the Belgrave Hospital and then King’s College Hospital. He never lost the physician’s approach, and, with the comparatively young population around him, he soon became involved in the paediatric aspects of his subject. His attention to detail led to his persistence in freezing serum samples from children with aplastic crisis in sickle cell disease, eventually enabling the identification of parvovirus as its cause. His other particular interest was in blood transfusion, and his natural conscientiousness was responsible for maintaining a safe service to King’s through many vicissitudes.

His caring approach extended to both laboratory and nursing staff: he was always conscious of their needs and aspirations, yet critical of any slovenly behaviour. He was a very strong team player.

He was born in a house backing on to the “Catford Loop,” so it was not surprising that his main hobby centred on trains and the railway infrastructure, even to the extent of writing books on small historic lines in the south east.

On retirement he moved to the Lake District, where he so enjoyed walking on the fells, as well as taking train journeys in the UK and Europe. His wife Margaret, who predeceased him, supported him extensively, largely by voluntary work for the King’s Research Trust. He is survived by four children.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3717


  • Former consultant haematologist King’s College Hospital, London (b 1924; q King’s College London and King’s College Hospital 1948; MD, FRCPath, TD, AKC), d 5 November 2010.

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