Paul Leslie Gordon TownsendBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5611 (Published 18 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5611
- Nigel Mercer,
- Antonio Orlando
Paul Leslie Gordon Townsend was one of the fathers of reconstructive microsurgery nationally and internationally. He was born in Hendon and grew up in Radlett in Hertfordshire. His father was first an army officer and then an accountant. Paul could recall watching bombs dropping on London in the early years of the war. He was educated at Epsom College and took his medical degree at University College Hospital, London, during which time he took a group of fellow students to Russia. It must have been quite a challenge. The Bay of Pigs episode was in 1961 and the political climate between east and west at its most tense. He intercalated and passed his BSc with honours in 1960, followed by his medical degree in 1963.
He married Mary, whom he had met at UCH in 1967. In 1968, after he had passed obtained fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, they went to Canada, where he worked in British Columbia. He passed the FRCS Canada in 1972, but the couple decided to return to the UK. Paul worked as a registrar at Odstock Hospital in Salisbury and as a senior registrar at Frenchay …