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Biographical entry McGavin, Donald Burns (1906 - 2003)

MRCS 1933; FRCS 1934; BA Cambridge 1928; MB BChir 1931; MA MChir 1939; LRCP 1933.

23 September 1906
Wellington, New Zealand
26 January 2003
General surgeon


Donald McGavin was a general surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary. He was born on 23 September 1906 in Wellington, New Zealand, the son of Mary Allan née Chapple and Major General Sir Donald Johnstone McGavin, FRCS, who had been director general of the New Zealand Army Medical Services at the end of the First World War. Educated at Huntley School, Marton, New Zealand, he went first to the Royal Naval Colleges at Dartmouth and Osborne, before going up to Trinity College Cambridge with an exhibition in natural sciences. He did his clinical studies at St Bartholomew’s, where he gained the senior entrance scholarship in science.

After house appointments at Bart’s, he demonstrated anatomy and pathology, was a registrar at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Royal Cancer Hospital, where he was a pupil of Girling Ball, Basil Hume, Cecil Joll and Lawrence Abel.

He was appointed consultant surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 1939, but left to join the RAMC, ending the war as major, commanding the surgical division of the New Zealand division in the army of occupation of Japan. He returned to his position at Leicester.

He married Cynthia née Scott in 1937, who predeceased him in 1989. They had three sons, the second of whom became a physician. McGavin died on 26 January 2003.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England