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Biographical entry Gilchrist, Kenneth James (1910 - 1992)

OBE 1968; MRCS LRCP 1932; MB BS London 1933; FRCS 1935; OStJ 1965; FIM 1970.

8 March 1910
October 1992
Suva, Fiji
General surgeon


Kenneth Gilchrist was Fiji's first surgeon specialist and principal of the Fiji School of Medicine from 1964 to 1970. He was born in London on 8 March 1910, the second son of James Gilchrist, a doctor and a graduate of Aberdeen University, and Constance Lilian Gilchrist née Osmond. He was educated at West Hill Preparatory School in Sydenham and Dulwich College, and went on to study medicine at Guy's Hospital Medical School, where he won prizes for anatomy and physiology. He qualified MRCS LRCP in 1932 and with the MB BS degree in 1933.

After house appointments at Guy's and Kent and Sussex Hospital, and after gaining his FRCS in 1935, he joined the Colonial Medical Service in 1936 as a surgeon. He was civil surgeon to Gibraltar for ten years through the Spanish Civil War and Second World War, during which time he liaised with the RAMC as a 'civilian with status of lieutenant colonel'.

In 1946 he was appointed to a surgical post in Fiji. Three years later he was transferred to northern Nigeria, but returned to Fiji in 1952. In 1956 he began to work full-time at the Fiji School of Medicine (then the Central Medical School of the South Pacific), where he stayed until his retirement in 1970, for the last six years as principal. He was president of the BMA Fiji branch from 1964 to 1965, and a BMA member from 1936 to 1969.

He was awarded an OBE in 1968 and the Fiji Independence medal (FIM) in 1970.

In retirement he lived in the town of Lami, where he was affectionately known to the local Fijians as 'Professor'. He built up an extensive collection of fossil seashells, going back some 7,000,000 years, which he catalogued.

Kenneth James Gilchrist died in October 1992, aged 82. He was unmarried.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) Ameliapedia Kenneth J Gilchrist MD,_MD - accessed 23 March 2015].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England