Born at Rhyl, 28 June 1857, son of Robert Jones, journalist, and Mary Hughes, Rhuddlan. When the boy was 5 years old his father moved to London. Educated at Sydenham College, he afterwards studied medicine at Liverpool, living and serving an apprenticeship with his uncle Dr. H. O. Thomas at 11 Nelson Street, which on his father's death two years later became his permanent home. He qualified in 1878 and afterwards proceeded F.R.C.S.E. He became Thomas's assistant and received a unique training in orthopaedic surgery. He was appointed surgeon-superintendent of the Manchester Ship Canal and, during the five years of its cutting, operated upon all serious casualties. In 1889 he was elected honorary surgeon to the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool. In 1904 he transformed the convalescent home of Agnes Hunt at Baschurch, Salop, into a country orthopaedic hospital, with scattered clinics — the first of its kind and the model for others that appeared later. In 1909 he was appointed the first lecturer in orthopaedic surgery at Liverpool University, and the same year was elected president of the Orthopaedic section of the International Congress of Medicine.
In the first world war he applied the technique of civilian orthopaedic surgery to limbs and spinal casualties. At Alder Hey military hospital, Liverpool, 400 beds were reserved for this purpose, and Hammersmith Infirmary at Shepherd's Bush was entirely converted into a military orthopaedic hospital with curative rehabilitation workshops attached. Similar hospitals were placed in other parts of the country. The treatment of wound and fracture aimed at prevention of crippling and rehabilitation of the soldier for the Service or for industry. In 1915 he demonstrated the use of Thomas's splints in casualty clearing stations in France; thereafter Thomas's caliper saved thousands of limbs and helped comfortable transport of the wounded. Two manuals which he wrote on military orthopaedics had a widespread influence on all fronts. Before the war ended he was major-general.
He was the recipient of many honours from surgical institutions and societies at home and abroad and received honorary degrees from six universities, of which the D.Sc. Wales (1917) was one. The universal tribute to him as an orthopaedic surgeon was revealed by his election as first president of the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery. He was created K.B.E., C.B., and a baronet. He died 14 January 1933 at Bodynfoel, near Llanfechain, the home of his daughter. ‘In view of the great services rendered by him to humanity at large,’ his ashes were laid to rest in Liverpool Cathedral.
Published date: 1959
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