John Moullin DaviesBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1562 (Published 20 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1562
- Elizabeth Davies,
- Peter Davies
John Moullin Davies was born in London in 1925 but brought up mainly on the Sussex coast with his older brother, George. This was the period after the first world war and the time of the Great Depression. John was 13 at the outbreak of the second world war. He was a very bright boy but his parents were not in a position to fund his further education. However, a bequest of £500 from his grandmother made it possible for him to contemplate going to university, and he obtained a place at St Catherine’s Hall, Oxford, which was not then a college, to study medicine going up at the very young age of 16 in 1942. Like other poor students, he could not have afforded college life and rented rooms in the poorer parts of town. His first year at Oxford was spent studying basic science subjects as, partly owing to the call-up of teachers, he had not done sciences at school. The wartime rationing probably helped him financially as this gave everyone, including poor students, access to subsistence before the days of welfare and student grants.
At Oxford he became part of a circle of friends including his wife to be, Elizabeth Ross, a fellow medical student. However, she left after one year to do secret work at the wartime code breaking centre of Bletchley Park and, following the end of the war, commenced an acting career. John just managed to eke out his £500 to cover the cost of four years at Oxford, including fees and all his living expenses. By the time he came to the clinical stage of his training, the new student grants had been introduced, which funded his two years at St George’s Hospital Medical School, then at Hyde Park Corner. This was followed …