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Biographical entry Yeates, James Macrae (1909 - 1960)

MRCS and FRCS 14 March 1940; MB ChM Sydney 1934.

2 November 1909
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
15 September 1960
General surgeon


Born at Toowoomba, Queensland on 2 November 1909, he was one of five brothers, two of whom became doctors and whose father was a member of the Legislative Assembly in Queensland. He was educated at Toowoomba Grammar School, where he was a good all-rounder, and in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sydney from which he graduated with honours in 1934. After qualification he became a resident medical officer at Sydney Hospital, then in 1936 surgical registrar, and in 1937 he came to London to obtain his Fellowship. He worked for a time as house surgeon to Professor Grey Turner at the British Postgraduate Medical School and in March 1940 was admitted a Fellow.

Joining the Australian Imperial Forces with the rank of Captain, he was posted to the 2/9 battalion then in England. The battalion moved to the Middle East and, having served as a regimental medical officer, in 1941 he was posted to the 2/2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, serving with that unit during the siege of Tobruk. In 1942-43 he served in the SW Pacific area with the rank of Major, in particular working as surgeon during the battle of Buna where he did outstanding work under the most primitive conditions. He was twice mentioned in dispatches and promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in charge of the surgical division of 101 Australian General Hospital.

On leaving the Army in 1946 he was appointed honorary assistant surgeon to Sydney Hospital and visiting surgeon to outpatients on the Repatriation Commission. He also found time to act as tutor in clinical surgery at the University and as secretary of the Sydney Hospitallers. Interested particularly in diseases of the breast, he established a special clinic in Sydney, which, had he survived, would have produced valuable statistical results. His main hobbies were literature and music.

He was murdered by a person or persons unknown at his home on 15 September 1960 and survived by his widow and two young children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med J Aust 1961, 2, 448-449 by F H Mills].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England