ROCYN-JONES, Sir DAVID THOMAS (1862 - 1953), medical officer of health and a public figure

Name: David Thomas Rocyn-Jones
Date of birth: 1862
Date of death: 1953
Spouse: Alla Rocyn-Jones (née Jones)
Child: Nathan Rocyn-Jones
Child: Gwyn Rocyn-Jones
Parent: David Rocyn Jones
Gender: Male
Occupation: medical officer of health and a public figure
Area of activity: Medicine; Public and Social Service, Civil Administration
Author: Emyr Wyn Jones

Born in Rhymney, Monmouthshire, 16 November 1862, the son of David Rocyn Jones, whose father, Thomas Rocyn Jones was a member of a famous family of bonesetters from Maenordeifi, Pembrokeshire. He was educated at Lewis School, Pengam, the University College of Cardiff and London, and graduated M.B. at the University of Edinburgh in 1897. He began his professional life in general practice at Abertillery. However, having obtained the D.P.H. at Oxford in 1904, he was appointed medical officer of health of Monmouthshire in 1907, and there he established an impressive service of preventive medicine, particularly in relation to tuberculosis. He was one of the five founders of the Welsh National Memorial Association that was formed to combat the then rampant disease.

He took an active part in the affairs of the University College of Cardiff, and served as its vice-president. He was much involved in the discussions that led to the establishment of the Welsh National School of Medicine (later University of Wales College of Medicine) as an independent institution. At first he was firmly opposed to the separation of the Medical School from the University College, but when this occurred he gave wholehearted support to the new venture. He served with distinction in various capacities on many public and professional bodies in Wales, such as the Welsh Regional Hospital Board, the British Medical Association and the St. John's Ambulance Brigade — he was a Knight of Grace of the Order. He was closely associated with the Welsh Rugby Union for forty-five years and was its president at the time of his death.

Rocyn-Jones, who was a county magistrate for many years, was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Monmouthshire in 1947. He was knighted a year later, having been awarded the C.B.E. in 1920. He remained a staunch Congregationalist, and throughout his life was determined to strengthen the bonds between his native county and the other south Wales counties. He was always affectionately regarded as a ‘character’.

In 1901 he married Alla (died 1950), daughter of Alderman S.N. Jones, of Abertillery. Two of their four sons became doctors; Gwyn succeeded his father as county medical officer of health, and Nathan, very appropriately in view of the family bonesetting background, became an orthopaedic surgeon in Cardiff. Another son was killed in Italy towards the end of the war. He died 30 April 1953.


Published date: 2001

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