Caleb William Davies

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 17 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:163
  1. Richard Davies

    Caleb William Davies (“Bill”) was born in Sarenga (then India) to medical missionary parents. At the age of 6 he travelled home to the United Kingdom to start his education at Kingswood Methodist School, where he obtained his first MB. He qualified at University College Hospital in 1939, just in time to take up a post as a casualty officer in Tottenham. He worked there through the Blitz while his wife, Joan, learnt to drive and joined the ambulance service. Strictly speaking, his first case of importance was on the day he qualified, when he was called to certify a barmaid as dead after she had been shot during a blackout. He later published his account in the BMJ: “My First Case.”

    Frustrated at being kept waiting by the Royal Air Force, he applied to join the King’s African Rifles and made his way to Kenya, after completing a crash course in tropical medicine at Edinburgh. The journey was not entirely straightforward, as he had to hitch a lift on a Dutch vessel just after the fall of Holland. Kenya was a very important staging post for troops travelling to the Far East, and Bill was soon involved in creating an immunised “barrier zone” along the coast. The particular problems were smallpox …

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