University of Leeds Logo

Surgeon Captain Peter Truesdale

 July 31, 2018 | Simon Jenkins


Peter Truesdale qualified as a doctor at the University of Leeds in 1955 and joined the Royal Navy in May 1956. After his initial training at the Royal Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, he was appointed as the Medical Officer to the Fifth Frigate Squadron, serving in the Mediterranean and Home Fleets, including the short Suez campaign and Cyprus patrols.

In 1958, he was appointed as Deputy to the Senior Medical Officer of the Royal Naval Air Station, Culdrose, and in 1959 to HMS Ark Royal, to complete his qualification as a specialist in Aviation Medicine.

In 1962, Dr Truesdale qualified with a Diploma in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, specialising in Occupational Medicine. Apart from two further sea appointments – 1963-65 in HMS London, which included a world tour, and in 1968-69 HMS Forth, the Submarine Depot Ship based in Singapore – the rest of his career was to be as the Senior Medical Officer and Factory Doctor at a succession of Royal Naval bases and dockyards.

In 1970, Dr Truesdale returned to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for his Diploma in Industrial Health and Specialist in Hygiene. In 1978, he was appointed as Consultant in Occupational Medicine for the Royal Navy. He was a member of the Society of Occupational Medicine and sometime committee member in Scotland, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. In 1990 he was appointed as an Honorary Physician to the Queen.

After his retirement from the Royal Navy in 1991, Dr Truesdale served for the next ten years as Medical Officer at the now privatised Devonport Dockyard, and also as consultant to Plymouth City Council. In 1980, he had bought a small cottage on the edge of Dartmoor, which would be his home for the rest of his life. He was a life-long motor-cycle racing enthusiast and a long-term supporter of the National Trust, serving for many years on the committee of the West Devon branch, to which, together with his alma mater and many other charities, he was a very generous supporter.

Among Dr Truesdale’s gifts to the University during his lifetime were scholarships for medical students taking an intercalated degree, allowing them to combine their medical training with an additional year’s study in an area of special interest.

Now his legacy will continue to enhance the learning experience for medical students at Leeds for many generations to come. An endowment in his name will provide further scholarships for those wishing to intercalate. It will also provide scholarships for those who are studying medicine as a second degree, as well as funds to support students wishing to travel to academic conferences in the UK and abroad.

Surgeon Captain Peter Truesdale