Born 2 January 1901 at Harwich, Percy came from at least two generations with connections to naval construction. His father, Emus Sidney Malpas was a marine engineer and his grandfather William Henry Malpas was a 1st Class Assistant Constructor in the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors.
Percy’s father died in 1908 and in 1912, while he was attending Christ Church School, Waterloo, his mother applied for him to be admitted to Merchant Taylors’. He was granted a Harrison Scholarship on entry to the school. He clearly worked hard at his academic work. When he sat his Oxford Local Junior exams in 1916, he gained a 1st Class and was placed 1st in England having obtained eight distinctions. The following year he sat his senior exams and gained a 1st class in these also.
He represented the school in the rugby XV from 1916 – 1918, a team coached by Rev Edward Hartley who also taught English, Classics and Maths! Percy played as a forward and was described in the School Review as “thoroughly good … always putting his whole energy into the game”. He can be seen fourth from the right in the back row on the accompanying photograph. The quality of the team was high. Among his team mates were H G Periton who was awarded 21 caps for England and captained his country in 1929/30 and S B McQueen who played for Scotland in 1923.
In addition to the high standards he set himself on the sports field, he excelled in the classroom and on the parade ground reaching the rank of Sergeant in the Cadet Corps. He won the Molyneux prize for Divinity twice [in 1915 and 1916], the Montefiore Prize for Latin in 1917 and the Tyler prize for Ancient History in the same year. He was also awarded the Great Crosby Scholarship in 1918. He was a member of the Games Committee, Debating Society, Musical Society and Literary Society of which he was Secretary in 1918.
Leaving school in 1918, he went on to Liverpool University to study Medicine. While studying for his degree he was awarded the Rankin Fellowship in Anatomy, the Derby Scholarship, the Lyon Jones Scholarship and the Leith Murray Memorial Scholarship. Graduating in 1923 he became FRCS in 1926 and ChM in 1928 eventually specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology leading to his being elected FRCOG in 1937.
As his biography by the Royal College of Surgeons states: “He was appointed consultant to the Women’s Hospital, Liverpool, in 1933 and thereafter did much to raise the standards of antenatal and maternity care in some of the most depressed areas of Merseyside. In 1937 he and Bennett-Jones laid the foundations of the surgical services at Whiston Hospital, and he was much in demand after the outbreak of war. Following the war he was visiting gynaecologist to the Isle of Man and also worked in the Lake District, but, at the inception of the NHS he confined his work to the Women’s Hospital, the Liverpool Maternity Hospital and the hospitals in the St Helen’s Group.
Malpas was a past President of the North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society. He wrote a book on genital prolapse and was interested in the recurrent abortion syndrome. He made a number of contributions; two notable ones were his paper on the role of the foetal suprarenal in late pregnancy, and that on the appearance of the posterior urethrovesical angle in stress incontinence in which he likened uterine fibromyomata to the knots in wood and not true neoplasms. He was a skilled and rapid operator and his humanity earned his colleagues’ affection. He died on 8 April 1980, and was survived by his wife, Anna, and children, Beryl and Richard. “
“Reproduced by kind permission of The Royal College of Surgeons of England”.
Biography of Percy Malpas – Plarr’s Lives of the Fellows – http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E006727b.htm
Archive research by Trevor Hildrey