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Biographical entry Wylie, David Storer (1876 - 1965)

CMG 1918; CBE 1920; MRCS and FRCS 1903; MB ChB Victoria, Manchester 1898; FRACS foundation 1927; FACS; LRCP 1903.

Oldham, Lancashire
23 September 1965
Tauranga, New Zealand
General surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Born in 1876 in Oldham, Lancashire, David Wylie was educated at Manchester Grammar School and University, winning the surgical clinical prize in 1897 and qualifying in 1898 with first class honours. After two years in resident posts at the Royal Infirmary he served as a civil surgeon in the Boer war. Returning to England he worked at King's College Hospital, London and took the Fellowship in 1903, but soon emigrated to New Zealand, where he began to practise at New Plymouth in 1904.

During the first world war he served as a Major in the New Zealand Army Medical Corps. He was working in the hospital ship Marquette when it was torpedoed in the Mediterranean; he then came back to England, was Colonel in command of No 1 New Zealand Hospital at Brockenhurst, and was created CMG for his war-work.

His interest in orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation was encouraged by Sir Robert Jones, under whom he took a course while in England. Returning to New Zealand he started the first orthopaedic service, in association with Sir Hugh Acland FRCS, at Christchurch Hospital and later at Trentham Hospital. He was awarded a CBE in 1920, and appointed consultant surgeon to the New Zealand Defence Department.

During the next eighteen months he inspected the hospitals throughout the Dominion on behalf of the Health Department, encouraged the development of medical records departments and libraries, and raised the standards of education and hospital surgical practice. He also persuaded the Ministry of Health to put through an act for registration of physiotherapists.

Wylie moved to Palmerston North in 1923, where he carried on a successful practice for twenty-four years, till he retired at the age of seventy; he was visiting surgeon at the Palmerston North Hospital 1923-1937, and exerted a beneficial influence on the advance of surgery in the central districts.

He was a founding Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1927, and a member of its New Zealand Committee for many years; he was elected a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a rare distinction in New Zealand; and he was President of the New Zealand Branch of the British Medical Association in 1934 and, another rare distinction, was re-elected for 1949. He gave valuable service to Government commissions on medical services and on hospitals.

Wylie was well-read in medical and general literature and owned a fine library, an uncommon possession in New Zealand in his time and profession. Sadly his sight failed after his retirement to a seaside house at Tauranga, but with the help of his wife, who read to him daily, he kept in touch with affairs and with medical activities, and carried on a large correspondence still writing in his own hand.

Wylie married twice: his first wife died in 1916, leaving one daughter; he married secondly in 1918 and was survived by his wife with their son and two daughters, and by his elder daughter. He died at Tauranga on 23 September 1965 aged eighty-nine.

Sources used to compile this entry: [NZ med J 1965, 64, 659-660 by John North FRCS, with portrait; Brit med J 1965, 2, 1007, with the date of his death incorrectly given].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England