Dr Claude Woodham Morris

Personal Details


29/06/1885 to 16/09/1968

Place of birth: Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

Nationality: British

Also known as: Birdie

CRN: 715261

Education and qualifications

General education

Epsom College; University College, London

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MBBS, London, 1913

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After house surgeon and physician posts at UCH he became assistant to the ENT department before specialising in anaesthetics, holding deputy anaesthetist and registrar appointments at UCH before moving to Durham as anaesthetist. On the outbreak of WW1 he applied to join the Navy and was commissioned as Surgeon Commander in charge of anaesthetics at RN Hospital Haslar in 1915. On demobilisation he was appointed anaesthetist to the Cancer (now Royal Marsden) Hospital, and in 1922 was appointed to the honorary staff of UCH and the Royal Free. During WW2 he worked at the Emergency Medical Service Hospital at Hemel Hempstead, initially for patients from UCH although later they came from Great Ormond Street. After the war he remained in the area, being appointed to the staff of the West Herts Hospital. He retired in 1951.

Professional interests and activities

Morris’s career started in the time of the ‘rag and bottle’ and ended in the relaxant era. He was interested in new techniques, especially iv anaesthetics, but stressed the importance of using familiar methods in difficult circumstances. Involved in the discussions which led to the formation of the AAGBI, he was involved, as a member of Council (1933-6), in pursuing both the funding and status of anaesthetists working with academic surgical units who had relatively little opportunity for private practice. He was one of the two examiners appointed for the DA at its inception in 1935, having been awarded the diploma without examination himself.

Other biographical information

From a medical family, Morris worked in the City after leaving school, but then decided to study medicine. In 1919 he was awarded the OBE(mil) for his services at RNH Haslar, but nothing is known (information welcome) of his personal life other than that he was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. He was known as ‘Birdie’ because he was slight in stature, quick in his movements and had keen, bight blue eyes!

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. Anaesthesia 1969; 24: 295-6