Born in Australia, the son of an Australian Congregational minister, he moved to England with his family as a child. He studied medicine at St Thomas' Hospital and worked there in the early days of the Second World War. He later served in Malta as a medical officer in the RAF. His civilian career was as a vascular surgeon at St Thomas' Hosptal where he developed an operation for leg ulcers which bears his name. A keen sailor, in retirement he gained a reputation as an expert on English marine artists.