General Internal Medicine with a special interest cardiology
Designatory Letters: 
MB ChB Edin 1937, MD Edin 1946, MRCPEdin 1946, FRCP Edin 1972

(Contributed by his wife, Diana, and children, Elisabeth, Raymond, Peter and Sheena)

George was born on 3rd December 1914 in Alice, South Africa where his father, was the local GP. Tragically in 1918, at the end of his father’s army service in the RAMC, the family was returning to Cape Town on the ‘Galway Castle’, a hospital ship, when she was torpedoed in the Bay of Biscay on 12th September and sank. George, his father and two elder sisters were rescued but his mother was drowned; George always said that his earliest memory was of being pulled from the icy waters of the Atlantic.

Following the tragedy, George’s father returned to his practice in Alice where George grew up. After prep school he was sent to Michaelhouse, a well known boarding school in the Natal Midlands.In 1932, at the age of 18, he went to Edinburgh University to study medicine, making many life-long friends, qualifying in 1937. Following graduation, George did a year’s housemanship at the Leicester Royal Infirmary where he witnessed early trials of Sulphonamides in the treatment of lobar pneumonia.

In 1939 he decided to return to South Africa which he did as the ship’s doctor on the ‘Umvumu’. He arrived just as war was declared and promptly returned to the UK again as a ship’s doctor on the ‘Umtali’.

Despite his requests to join the RAF (he was told Doctors didn’t fly) he was drafted to the RAMC, initially at Aldershot before being posted to West Africa apparently because it was assumed that, being South African, he spoke “African”! He commanded the 4th West African Field ambulance firstly in Nigeria and then in India and finally in Burma where he remained until the end of the war. It was in the jungle of the Arakan, often in appalling conditions, that he first used the new ‘wonder drug’ Penicillin, which had just been dropped by parachute. (Two years later, in Edinburgh, he attended lectures by Professors Fleming and Florey who made the discovery)

It was in Burma that he met Diana, a QA nursing sister, and they were married at Calcutta Cathedral in1945. Demobbed in 1946 with the rank of Lt. Colonel he obtained an appointment in Clinical Medicine at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. In the same year he obtained his MD and MRCPE as well as becoming a father. Returning to South Africa with his young wife and baby daughter he took an appointment as a physician at the King George V Hospital for Chest Diseases in Durban where he specialised in tuberculosis. At first he treated the disease with Streptomycin, but from 1951, he combined Streptomycin with Isoniazid and latterly replaced the Streptomycin with Rifampicin. These drugs revolutionised the treatment of tuberculosis, and the mortality rate fell dramatically. Based on his experiences he wrote many papers on the treatment of tuberculosis and pericarditis several of which were published (British Journal of Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases 1951, 1953, 1971). He also presented papers in Brussels and Malawi and many parts of South Africa.

In 1960 he returned to Edinburgh for a year’s study leave with his wife and family – now comprising two sons and two daughters who all sampled a year of Scottish Education which they loved and did not want to leave. However he returned to King George V hospital as Senior Physician in chest diseases, a position which he held until his retirement but he continued his work at King George for a further 10 years before he and his wife moved to England in 1996 to join their two married daughters

He became a FRCP Edin. in 1972, an honour he accepted with quiet modesty.

He was a wonderful caring husband, father and grandfather and physician looked upon with great respect and affection by all who knew him. The Royal College can be proud to have had him as a FRCP for a good fellow he certainly was.