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Biographical entry Mitchell, James Murray Duff (1886 - 1936)

MRCS and FRCS 9 December 1926; MB, BCh Aberdeen 1907; BSc 1909; MD 1912; DPH Cambridge 1909.

20 March 1886
5 October 1936
Sutton, Surrey
General surgeon


Born 20 March 1886 at Annfield House, Great Western Road, Aberdeen, the fifth child and only son of O R Mitchell, a commander in the British India Line and afterwards one of the nautical assessors at Aberdeen, whose wife was Jane Manzie Duff. Mitchell was educated at Ashley Road School, Aberdeen and in 1902 entered Marischal College, graduating from the University in 1907. He then entered into general practice in Edinburgh, rearranged his studies and took the BSc in 1909, continued in practice and graduated MD in 1912 with a thesis entitled "An investigation into the relationship between the nutrition, housing, and food of school children". He then entered into partnership at Brigg, Lincolnshire, and having taken the Diploma in Public Health at the University of Cambridge was appointed school medical inspector under the Lindsay County Council and MOH for the Brigg Urban District.

On the outbreak of war he was gazetted temporary captain, RAMC on 9 September 1915, was attached to the 4th Northumberland Fusiliers, and served at St John's Hospital, Malta. He applied for more active work, was attached as medical officer to the 5th Essex Regiment, and on 15 September 1916 was very seriously wounded on the Somme within a few days after joining the regiment. On recovery he acted as surgeon to the Dovercourt and Harwich Military Hospital, and on demobilization lived for a time in London and served on the staff of the Medical Pensions Board. He finally moved to Sutton, where in spite of his disabilities he did good work as surgeon to the Sutton and Cheam Hospital and to St Anthony's Hospital, North Cheam. Whilst acting in this capacity he passed the examination for the Fellowship of the College, without having previously taken the Membership examination. He married Lillie, second daughter of Major-General Frederick Henry Smith, of the 18th Bengal Cavalry, on 14 December 1916. She survived him with one son. He died at Stone Court, Brighton Road, Sutton, Surrey on 5 October 1936. A man of unyielding courage, who was sorely hampered by great physical disabilities due to his war service.


The pillion-rider's pelvic split accident. Lancet, 1932, 1, 20.
Bowel distension; the alimentary system as an accessory respiratory organ. Lancet, 1936, 1, 767.
School medical inspection and allied public health problems, DPH thesis 1909; unpublished.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1936, 2, 950; Brit med J 1936, 2, 790; information given by Mrs Duff Mitchell].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England Library