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Remembered Today:

Lieut. Colonel M. G. Pearson, S.A.M.C. / Z.A.G.D.


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Colonel Maurice Grey Pearson, O.B.E. (M), MB. B.Sc. (Lon.), F.R.C.S. (Eng.)

MRCS 9 May 1895; FRCS 9 December 1897; BSc London 1892;
MB 1895; LRCP 1895.

QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL – 39 Pte. M. Pearson, Alicedale T.G.
NATAL REBELLION MEDAL WITH 1906 BAR – CPT. M. G. Pearson, Natal Medical Corps
1914-1915 STAR – MJR. M. G. Pearson, S.A.M.C.

Born - 20 March 1872
Died - 13 May 1952
Occupation - General surgeon and Orthopaedic Surgeon


Born on 20 March 1872, the third child and second son of William George Pearson, civil engineer, and his wife Emma Hind, he was educated at University College School and St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he won the Harvey prize and served as house surgeon and ophthalmic house surgeon. He graduated in science in 1892 and qualified in 1895 with honours in forensic medicine.

After serving as House Surgeon, and also as Ophthalmic House Surgeon at St. Bartholomew's, he obtained the F.R.C.S. (Eng.).

He emigrated to South Africa in 1900, settling in Alicedale Cape Province and served as District Surgeon and Railway Medical Officer. He served in the Alicedale Town Guard as 39 Private M. G. Pearson as there were no Officer positions available and he still wished to serve.

After the war in 1902 he joined W Addison at Durban, where he carried on a large general practice including surgery and ophthalmology for the rest of his career.

In 1903 Joined Natal Medical Corps as Lieutenant, promoted Captain and appointed Adjutant of the Durban Company. During the 1906 Natal Native Rebellion, awarded the Medal and 1906 Bar, after the rebellion in 1907 he was posted to the Reserve of Officers with rank of Major.

In 1914 – 1915 German South West Campaign, in the rank of Major. Appointed Surgeon Specialist to Berrange's Column (Eastern Force). He was also awarded an MID. When the campaign was over in South West Africa he took charge of the Surgical Division of the South African Military Hospital Unit which went overseas and stationed at Abbeville France. While in France he was appalled at the high mortality rate from compound fractures of the femur. With his characteristic thoroughness and determination he set about devising ways and means of dealing with this widespread problem. He worked under the most adverse conditions, and evolved a method of transportation and treatment of fractured femur which made his name well known throughout the Commonwealth. England and America.

His work was acclaimed on all sides and for this he was mentioned in dispatches. He made his mark, with the support of his friends Sir Anthony Bowlby and Sir Robert Jones, by promoting a great improvement in the treatment of compound fractures of the femur, successfully reducing the excessive mortality, and was later given charge of the 1000 bed "femur hospital" at Edmonton, London, England. Pearson's method attracted the admiration of American orthopaedic surgeons, and he published a record of his work.

The magnificent results obtained were a revelation, and compared very favourably with those of modern orthopaedic surgeons. This hospital was a Mecca of surgeons of all the Armed Forces. including Americans. It is of interest that a recent American textbook of surgery gives in detail the methods Dr. Pearson used. After the war Dr. Pearson returned to Durban to resume practice, which rapidly became more than he could manage.

Because of this work he was mentioned in dispatches, created Office of the Order of the British Empire in the military division, and promoted brevet Lieutenant-Colonel.

He took the late Dr. A. D. Edington into partnership and later his son Lawrence joined him. Dr. Pearson retired in 1936, but in 1940 again joined the partnership (without remuneration), to enable his son to join the S.A.M.C. in World War 2.

Dr. Maurice Pearson took on part-time military duties, and was Lieutenant-Colonel in charge of auxiliary hospitals in the Durban area. He was a past President of the Natal Coastal Branch of the Medical Association of South Africa, and past President of the South African Medical Congress held in Durban.

In September 1937 he was awarded a patent for a special folding stretcher to be used in emergency medical situations where transportation is required that came about after being present and treating the casualties at the Kynoch's Dynamite Factory in Natal. This metal stretcher was cheap, fool-proof, indestructible, folds compactly and is light. It does away with vertical vibration and almost abolishes longitudinal or lateral jerks. Could be used in Vans, Open or Closed Raliway Trucks and in the backs of Motor Vehicle Trucks and not be required to be fixed to the floor. This stretcher was taken up by the South African and various Commonwealth Governments.

He was the most senior officer and a past Colonel of the 1st Field Ambulance, S.A.M.C., in Durban.

Dr. Pearson was Senior Visiting Surgeon at the Addington Hospital from 1927-1936. When Dr. Pearson retired in 1936 he was appointed Consulting Surgeon to Addington Hospital, a post which he occupied until he died. He was a past Chairman of the Natal Cripple Care Association, and a past Chairman of the Natal Radium Trust Fund--a fund which he helped to organize, and for which he raised a considerable amount of money.

Dr. Pearson was noted for his integrity, a wonderful capacity for friendship and kindness, often providing shelter for human derelicts. It is safe to say he had no enemies and was much loved by his patients and professional colleagues.

Dr. Pearson died as he would have wished, suddenly. in his lovely home, which he designed, built and loved so well. He married Miss Agnes Hunter, a nurse at St. Bartholomew's Hospital by whom he had one son. His wife died in 1942. Later he married Miss Dorothy Ballam who survives him.

Colonel Pearson died in May of 1952 at the age of 80.


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Edited by QSAMIKE
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  • 2 years later...

Dear Mike,

Super portrait photograph. Well done!

Kindest regards,


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