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Biographical entry Hett, Geoffrey Seccombe (1878 - 1949)

MRCS 12 February 1903; FRCS 18 June 1908; MB London 1904; LRCP 1903.

14 August 1878
3 May 1949
ENT surgeon


Born 14 August 1878, eldest child of Geoffrey Hett, and Mary Scott his wife. His father, who was MD Edinburgh 1871 and MRCS 1865, practised at 1 Ledbury Road, Bayswater, London, W, and was an Associate of King's College. He was educated at St Paul's School, at University College and University College Hospital, and at Vienna and Freiburg. He qualified in 1903 and took the Fellowship five years later. While serving as assistant surgeon to the London Throat Hospital and to the Throat Hospital, Golden Square, he made valuable researches into the comparative anatomy of the tonsils at University College, where he was assistant in the department of anatomy and curator of the anatomical museum. In 1912 he was appointed assistant surgeon under Herbert Tilley at the Royal Ear Hospital, the ear, nose, and throat department of University College Hospital, and in due course became surgeon, and consulting surgeon on his retirement.

During the war of 1914-18 he served in the British and the French Red Cross, and later, with the rank of major RAMC, was officer in command of Lord Methuen's Convalescent Hospital for Officers at Corsham Court, Wiltshire, and of the Middleton Park Red Cross Hospital for head injuries. At the Queen's Hospital, Sidcup, under Sir Harold Gillies, he did notable work in the repair of nasal injuries. After the war in addition to his work at University College Hospital, Hett was surgeon for the ear, nose, and throat at Moorfields (the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital), and surgeon laryngologist to Mount Vernon Hospital for Consumption. He was consulting surgeon to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Hospital, Eastbourne, to the Cassell Hospital for Nervous Diseases at Penshurst, and to the Cottage Hospital, Cranleigh. He was also consulting surgeon to the National Institute for the Blind. He had a large private practice 86 Brook Street, W1; after retiring he lived at 8 South Parks Road, Oxford.

Hett married first, in 1904, Aeddan Blanche Muriel Donnithorn grand-daughter of the Hon Robert Arundell, who died in 1942, survived by a son and daughter; he married secondly, in 1943, Cynthia Crowdy, who survived him. He died suddenly in London on 3 May 1949, aged 70. Seccombe Hett was a distinguished naturalist; he had a profound knowledge of British birds, and was an authority on bats; he was also fond of shooting, fishing, and big game hunting. He combined his sporting and scientific tastes in a study of basking sharks off the Scottish and Iris coasts. As a consultant and teacher he was beloved for his charm of manner; he was gentle, kind, and courteous, and an entertaining talker.

Diseases of the tonsils, in A Latham and T C English's System of treatment, 1912.
The treatment of infection of the nasal accessory sinuses. Lancet, 1926, 2, 968. Diseases of the nose, throat, and nasal accessory sinuses. Index of symptomatology, 1926.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 10 May 1949, p 7e; Brit med J 1949, 1, 871, by T Cawthorne; Lancet, 1949, 1, 845, with appreciation by E S; information from Mrs Seccombe Hett].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England