Born in Barbados, Henry Boyle was educated at Harrison College before attending St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, qualifying in 1901. He was appointed Senior Resident Administrator of Anaesthetics in May 1905 and then Non-Resident Assistant Administrator of Anaesthetics, a post he kept for the next 13 years.
In 1907, the first edition of his book Practical Anaesthetics was published, and ran for two more editions. After further research and publications about intratracheal insufflation anaesthesia, he developed his machine, which was a modification of Gwathmey’s continuous flow apparatus. This apparatus, which he continued to modify for the next 20 years, became synonymous with British anaesthesia.
In 1920, Boyle was awarded an OBE for his work in the RAMC caring for wounded soldiers during the war. Following a trip to North America, he brought back the Sorensen electrical suction apparatus – which had a tremendous impact in ENT surgery – and the Canadian Davis mouth gag, which subsequently became known as the Boyle-Davis gag. He was on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Anaesthesia from 1923 and a founder member of the Association of Anaesthetists.
Boyle retired to Godalming, Surrey, in 1939, where he died two years later.