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Lindley Smith died on the 9th February just before his 83rd birthday. He was educated at Marlborough College before going to Christ’s College, Cambridge and Westminster Hospital Medical School where he qualified in 1940.
He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as an ophthalmic specialist in Normandy and India, attaining the rank of major. He liked to relate how before the war he had spent time exploring Germany on a motor bike and acquiring a knowledge of the language, but when he answered a call for volunteers able to speak German he was promptly posted to India.
He took his DOMS in 1947 and in 1950 became a lecturer in ophthalmic pathology in Manchester University. He had a keen interest and considerable expertise in skin tumours and was awarded his MD (Cantab) in 1954 for a thesis on sweat gland tumours. He developed an ocular pathology service based in the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital which soon attracted specimens from many other hospitals in the region. His major interest was in retinoblastoma and he collaborated closely with the Manchester Children’s Tumour Registry in a study of their natural history and inheritance
In 1957, he was appointed consultant ophthalmic pathologist to St Paul’s Eye Hospital Liverpool. However, he retained his associations with Manchester and continued to provide an ophthalmic pathology service for much of the north west. He also pursued his interest in retinoblastoma. This involved driving many miles following up cases and examining their relatives and, incidentally, gaining an unrivalled knowledge of the best pubs in the north west and beyond. More importantly, this diligence identified over the years about a dozen arrested or regressed retinoblastomas of which he gave valuable clinical descriptions. He also managed to collect several eyes containing regressed tumours in which he was able to characterise the histopathological features of arrest or regression.
Lindley had an encyclopaedic knowledge of ophthalmic pathology built up by years of careful observation and supported by considerable clinical expertise. This made his contributions to discussions at meetings of the North of England Ophthalmological Society especially valuable He was elected president of the society in 1973. He also made a considerable contribution to the training of ophthalmologists at St Paul’s. Many former trainees will remember with affection and gratitude the patience with which he introduced them to the mysteries of ocular histopathology and the fatherly interest he showed in their careers.
I personally retain many fond memories of lengthy discussions over the microscope. His perceptive eye quickly picked out the salient features in difficult cases and I learned much from his profound wisdom which he willingly shared.
Golfing colleagues will remember him as a formidable opponent who achieved the distinction of becoming president of the Royal Birkdale Club.
He leaves a widow, Pamela, and two stepsons to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.
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