Roger William Gilliatt (1922 - 1991). After qualification in medicine from the Middlesex Hospital in 1949, Gilliatt trained in neurology there and at the National Hospital.
He interrupted his undergraduate education in Oxford by enlisting with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1942. His war record was distinguished. Near Kloppenburg, he went forward alone on foot and rescued the crew of a burning tank, despite being subjected to heavy small-arms fire.
Returning to Oxford on demobilisation, Gilliatt graduated with first-class honours in physiology (1946) and was then research assistant at the Spinal Injuries Unit, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and the University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford. After qualification in medicine from the Middlesex Hospital in 1949, Gilliatt trained in neurology there and at the National Hospital. He was appointed to the consultant staff of both hospitals in 1955 and also began to develop a successful Harley Street private practice.
Hospital rounds were conducted with military precision. The sister placed the patients at attention in their beds, a chair at the foot for Gilliatt’s bag. In 1962 he was appointed to the foundation professorship of clinical neurology in the University of London. That Gilliatt was eventually able to effect the transformation of academic neurology depended on his vision of the field and ability to manipulate goodwill towards his own preferred position. He gave up his private practice and as the elite of between-the-wars neurology retired, Gilliatt began to dominate policy and strategy at the National Hospital and the Institute of Neurology. Gilliatt nurtured most academic neurologists in the UK in the decades that followed appointment as professor of neurology.
In retirement, Gilliatt moved to the USA and was appointed consultant in clinical neurophysiology, National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda.
Gilliatt supported and nurtured the academic activities of a small number of neurologists who worked at Queen Square from the 1960s and, through his patronage, academic neurology survived the crisis and probable demise that the attitudes of the 1950s had risked. He had the foresight that allowed Queen Square and the Institute of Neurology to justify their existence and survive the Health Service reforms of the 1990s.
Queen Square: A History of the National Hospital and its Institute of Neurology https://www.nationalbrainappeal.org/product/queen-square-history-book/