GILLIES, Sir Harold Delf, C.B.E.
A new biography of Gillies, Harold Delf appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Harold Gillies was born on 17 June 1882 in Dunedin, the son of Robert Gillies, a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, and Emily, née Street. He was educated at Wanganui College where he soon achieved fame as an athlete. He went to Cambridge for the purpose of studying medicine and he rowed for Cambridge in 1904. He then completed his clinical training at St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School, from which he qualified in 1908. He took his F.R.C.S. (Eng.) in 1910 and took up ear, nose, and throat surgery. Early in the First World War he joined the RAMC, where the large numbers of patients suffering from mutilations of the face drew him steadily towards plastic surgery. He went to Paris to study the subject and by 1916 was established in England as a plastic surgeon. At Sidcup he revealed his genius not only for plastic surgery, where he devised such a notable advance as the “tube pedicle flap”, but also for teaching and inspiring young surgeons from all over the world. He became the outstanding plastic surgeon of the century. In the Second World War he was consulting adviser to the Ministry of Health and consultant in plastic surgery to the RAF and to the Admiralty, and was responsible for organising various plastic surgical units in different parts of the United Kingdom. Sir Harold Gillies was a champion golfer and a renowned fly fisherman. He wrote two leading textbooks, one in 1920 on Plastic Surgery of the Face and the second in 1957, with Dr Ralph Millard, entitled Principles and Art of Plastic Surgery.
He died in harness in London on 10 September 1960, at the age of 78 years. He was twice married, first to Kathleen Margaret Jackson (d. 1957) by whom he had two sons and two daughters, and, secondly, to Miss Marjorie Clayton. He was a most delightful person, original, versatile, courteous, and full of enthusiasm for his many interests.
by Charles Ernest Hercus, KT., D.S.O., O.B.E., U.D., M.B. CH.B.(N.Z.), M.D., D.P.H., B.D.S., F.R.C.P., F.R.A.C.P., F.R.A.C.S., Emeritus Professor, University of Otago.
- Dominion, 12 Sep, 23 Sep 1960 (Obits). Gillies — Surgeon Extraordinary, Pound, R. (1964).