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Biographical entry French, John Gay (1872? - 1951)

MRCS 13 February 1902; FRCS 12 December 1907; MB London 1902; BS 1906; MS 1907; LRCP 1902.

Mymensing, Bengal
13 April 1951
ENT surgeon


Born at Mymensing, Bengal about 1872, the youngest son of John Gay French, FRCS, Indian Medical Service.

He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and obtained an open entrance scholarship at St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London. He was house surgeon at St Mary's and also held resident posts at St Bartholomew's, the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, and the Throat Hospital, Golden Square.

Determining to specialize as an otologist and laryngologist, French became registrar, and was later elected assistant surgeon, at the Central London Throat and Ear Hospital in Gray's Inn Road. He joined the staff of the Royal Northern Hospital in 1906, becoming in due course senior surgeon to the ear, nose, and throat department. He was surgeon in the like departments at the Royal Masonic Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital, and lectured on the diseases of ear, nose, and throat at the London School of Medicine for Women. He was consultant to the Hornsey Central Hospital, which gave him the title of emeritus on retirement, and was a consulting specialist to the War Office.

At the Royal Free Hospital French served as chairman of the medical committee; he was active in several professional societies, and examined in his specialty for the Conjoint Board.

French married Elinor May, younger daughter of Francis Stafford Pipe-Wolferstan, of Statfold, Staffordshire, who survived him. Their three sons died before him; a loss which he bore with stoic courage. He died on 13 April 1951, aged 79. He had practised at 135 Harley Street, and lived latterly at 33 Harley House, NW1. One of his sons, Stanley Gay French (1908-1948), was a Fellow of the College.

He was a man of abounding energy, whose fierce appearance, gruff manner, and autocratic character concealed quick human sympathies. He was a good raconteur with a dry sense of humour. His amusements were golf, gardening, and billiards.

An investigation into the action and uses of fibrolysin in middle-ear deafness. Lancet, 1909, 2, 217.
Chronic middle-ear suppuration: its sequelae and treatment. Trans Harveian Soc 1910.
Diseases of larynx and pharynx. Dictionary of Practical Medicine, 1923.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1951, 1, 969, with appreciation by T J Hoskin, MD, FRCP; Brit med J 1951, 1, 954, with appreciation by J D McLaggan, CVO, FRCS; Royal Free Hosp Mag 1951, 13, 89, eulogy by Mildred Faulkner, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England