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Biographical entry Mason, George Alexander (1901 - 1971)

CBE; VRD; MRCS and FRCS 1931; MB BS Durham 1922.

5 March 1971
Canberra, Australia
General surgeon and Thoracic surgeon


George Alexander Mason was born in 1901 and graduated from Newcastle-upon-Tyne University in 1922 and spent the whole of his professional life in that city. Although in every sense a general surgeon he soon became interested in thoracic surgery and devoted most of his surgical career to that specialty.

He obtained his FRCS in 1931 and soon afterwards he was appointed to the staff of the Royal Infirmary Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he was also on the staff of the Shotley Bridge Hospital where he first developed a department of thoracic surgery. During the second world war he served in the Royal Navy as Surgeon-Commander RNVR; he also maintained thoracic clinics at Nottingham and at Preston Hall in Kent.

Mason was a pioneer in thoracic surgery, and was a founder member of the Association of Thoracic Surgeons of Great Britain; he was also one of the first in the world to write of his experiences with successful removal of the whole lung. He was made a Hunterian Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1933 and 1936. He worked with Laurence O'Shaughnessy at the College of Surgeons until the outbreak of war in 1939. After the war Mason travelled widely, and gathered a small group of thoracic surgeons who with him visited clinics in Europe and America. Probably his closest association was with Norway and many young Norwegian surgeons joined the Shotley Clinic to learn under his guidance, and the gratitude of the Norwegian Government for his contribution to Norwegian surgery was expressed by its making him a Knight of St Olaf.

Mason died suddenly while staying at the Norwegian Embassy in Canberra on 5 March 1971, and was survived by his wife and son and daughter.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1971, 2, 533; The Times 16 March 1971].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England