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Biographical entry Peet, Eric William (1909 - 1968)

MRCS and FRCS 1935; MB BS Durham 1931; Hon MA Oxford 1962.

2 January 1909
West Hartlepool
6 October 1968
Plastic surgeon


Born at West Hartlepool, January 2, 1909, the second child of William and Lilian Peet. He was educated at Tynemouth High School and Durham University Medical College in Newcastle where he graduated in 1931. His first year's appointments were at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and were followed by eighteen months at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital; his appointments included ENT surgery at both hospitals. He then became RSO at the Fleming Memorial Children's Hospital, Newcastle for a year before moving to London as Research Fellow at the Bernhard Baron Institute of the Middlesex Hospital where he studied the anatomy of the inner ear. In 1937 he was appointed assistant to the ENT department of the Radcliffe Infirmary. It was at this time that he first developed an interest in plastic surgery. In 1941 he joined the RAMC and was seconded to Professor T P Kilner for further training in plastic surgery. In 1943 he was posted to India as officer commanding No 2 Indian Maxillo-Facial Unit.

On his return to England in 1946 he joined Professor Kilner at the newly created Nuffield Department of Plastic Surgery, and on Professor Kilner's retirement in 1957 he became its director. He was appointed university lecturer in plastic surgery and was awarded an honorary MA in 1962; his attachment was to University College. He was President of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons in 1946, and was elected an honorary member of the Association of Surgeons of India in 1966.

He had considerable artistic talents outside surgery. Brought up in a musical family he started playing the violin at the age of seven, and was a member of the Middlesex orchestra besides playing on occasions in company with professional musicians. His ability extended to the construction of string instruments. He built three violins; one, which is a copy of the Stradivarius 'Le Messie', is in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. He also constructed the four instruments necessary for a string quartet. His principal hobby in the last twenty years of his life however was painting; he was outstandingly gifted, exhibiting at the Army Art Society and the Medical Art Society, and winning first prize at the first International Exhibition of Painting by medical men in Turin in 1961. A warm personality and excellent company he was a welcome visitor on his many surgical visits, particularly in India, to which country he had a deep attachment.

In 1953 he married Katherine Mary Skirne Ainley-Walker, daughter of Dr E W Ainley-Walker, sometime Dean of the Oxford School of Medicine. He died suddenly on 6 October 1968 and was survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.

Essentials of plastic surgery (jointly). 1963.
Hypospadias, epispadias ectopia vesice (jointly), in British surgical practice, by Sir E Rock Carling and Sir J Paterson Ross, 1950, 8, 383-406.
Operative surgery, edited by C G Rob and R Smith, 1958. Chapters on congenital syndactyly, congenital constriction bands, cleft lip and palate, and hypospadias.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1968, 4, 193].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England