Elected F.R.S. 1962
Ralph Alexander Raphael was born in Croydon on 1 January 1921, the eldest child of Jack Raphael and his wife Lily (née Woolf); there were also three daughters. The paternal family hailed from Poland; Ralph's grandfather, Solomon Raphael, was born in Klatchova. At the age of sixteen, in 1864, he had emigrated via Hamburg and Grimsby to avoid being pressed into the Russian army, and then proceeded to London. There, in 1875, he married Sarah Berg, also from Poland, and they formed a well-balanced pair, as a remarkable photograph reveals. Solomon was a fiery-tempered, soft-hearted and very orthodox Jew: Sarah was calm, efficient, humorous, and a legendary cook. Ralph's father, Jack, was one of their thirteen children.