Headington history: People

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Josep Trueta (1899–1977)

Josep Anthony Trueta was born in Spain on 27 October 1899 (according to the 1939 register, but other sources give his year of birth as 1897).

In 1923 Trueta married Amelia Llacuna (born 28 February 1900), and they had three daughters and a son (who died at the age of four).

During the Spanish Civil War he was chief of trauma services for Barcelona and developed innovatory methods of wound treatment.

As a Catalan nationalist, Trueta was forced into exile after the Spanish Civil War, arriving in England in 1939. He became an adviser to the Ministry of Health, and in September 1939 G. R. Girdlestone, the first Nuffield professor of orthopaedic surgery, heard Trueta lecture on bombing casualties and invited him to Oxford. Their friendship led to the establishment of the Oxford school of orthopaedics and the Wingfield-Morris Hospital (now the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre).

The 1939 register shows Josep, described as a surgeon, and his wife Amelia living at 163 Woodstock Road in north Oxford, but by the following year they had moved to Headington. Until 1943 they lived at Greycot in Manor Road (now the site of 16 Osler Road), and then at Overmead in Jack Straw’s Lane until 1966.

In 1949 Trueta was appointed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Worcester College. He retired in 1966 and moved back to Barcelona. His biography Gathorne Robert Girdlestone was written there and published by Oxford University Press in 1971.

Josep Trueta died in Barcelona in 1977. A memorial service was held for him the University Church of St Mary the Virgin a few months later.

See also
  • Josep Trueta’s autobiography, Trueta :Surgeon in War and Peace, tr Meli and Michael Strubell (London: Gollancz, 1980). It gives some details of his residence, with two pictures of Overmead
  • Wikipedia entry on Josep Trueta
  • Martin J. Harris, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre: A Pictorial History, which has a photograph of Trueta on p. 35, and another showing him carving the Christmas Day lunch in Burrows Ward on p. 36.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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