Long-standing Rugby pharmacist 'Dr Whaley' who helped concentration camp victims dies at 98

Stan and son Mick in Whaleys dispensary taken around 1975.
Stan and son Mick in Whaleys dispensary taken around 1975.

A Rugby man who helped to care for concentration camp victims before running Whaley’s Chemist has died at 98.

Stanley Baylis , an only child, was born near Worcester in 1919.

Mr Baylis’s son, Christopher, got in touch with the Advertiser to share his father’s fascinating life story with readers.

When he was a young boy living Kempsey, Worcestershire, Stanley Baylis’s long life was almost cut short after he and his friends built a raft and launched it in the River Severn – Mr Baylis fell into the water but was pulled out by one of the friends.

When he was very young Mr Baylis also tried his hand at fishing with a bent pin and worm – only to be shocked and unsure of what to do when an eel he caught wriggled in front of him.

Mr Baylis’s father, Albert, worked as a carpenter but struggled to find work during the Depression so he became the landlord of the Denbigh Arms in Monks Kirby – a job which the local vicar helped him get.

The pub was owned by the People’s Refreshment Houses Association (PRHA) which was owned by the Church of England. The PRHA dictated that one room must be kept for children where no alcohol was served.

Mr Baylis cycled seven miles each way to attend Lawrence Sheriff School. On dark evenings the local police officer would try to stop him for having no lights on his bicycle – but Mr Baylis was always too quick to be caught.

When he finished school he began an apprenticeship at a Rugby pharmacy with day release to college in Leicester. He became a member of the Pharmaceutical Society in 1943 before doing an extra year at college and receiving a further qualification to become a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society.

His religious beliefs meant when he was called to serve in the navy he refused to wear the uniform – a move which saw him put in naval prison for six months.

As the war ended Mr Baylis got a job as resident pharmacist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham.

German concentration camps were being liberated and starving Jewish refugees were arriving for treatment.

Mr Baylis did his best to help, but many of the refugees were too far gone and were allowed to die.

At Queen Elizabeth Hospital Stan met a nurse called Mavis – they married in 1948.

Mr Baylis’s parents helped him buy Whaley’s Chemist and the couple began a new life in Rugby, eventually settling in Lime Tree Avenue.

He had three sons, Michael, Christopher and Peter.

The chemist flourished under Mr Baylis and he earned the nickname Dr Whaley for his helpfulness. He was well into his seventies before he retired.

The funeral takes place at Rugby Crematorium at midday on May 10. The organisers request there are no flowers. There is a wake with buffet and bar at the Railway Club, Hillmorton Road.

All who knew Mr Baylis are welcome.