Elected F.R.S. 1971
Gwendolen Rees was born in Abercynon, Glamorganshire, and after a brief stay in Llandaff moved to Aberdare for her schooling. She graduated from the University College of Wales, Cardiff in 1927 with Honours in zoology and, after one year of postgraduate teacher training, proceeded to postgraduate studies in parasitology in the same Department, being awarded her Ph.D. in 1930. Immediately thereafter she was appointed Assistant Lecturer in Zoology in the sister University College of Wales in Aberystwyth where she remained for the rest of her working life, formally retiring as holder of a Personal Chair in 1973. Though rather private and self–effacing she was noted for her meticulous attention to detail, the artistry of her zoological illustrations, her ability to enthuse students, and her personal elegance and charm. She was particularly distinguished for her definitive studies of the comparative functional morphology and histology of trematode and cestode worms. Her descriptions of the life history strategies of these parasitic platyhelminths threw new light on the relationships of parasites to non-vertebrate hosts and promoted enhanced interest in the evolution of host–parasite associations.