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Biographical entry Gorrill, Frederick Samuel (1912 - 1974)

MRCS 1939; FRCS 1949; BSc London 1934; MB BS 1946; MD 1947; LRCP 1939; MRCP 1947.

30 July 1912
Okehampton, Devon
31 December 1974
Company director and General surgeon


Frederick Samuel Gorrill was born on 30 July 1913 at Okehampton, Devon, the son of a village constable. He was educated at Torquay Grammar School and King's College, London, where he obtained an honours BSc in chemistry in 1934. He became involved in research in biochemistry, and was later appointed lecturer in the department of physiology at King's College. While there he studied medicine, going to Charing Cross Hospital for his clinical training, and in 1939 he qualified with the Conjoint Diploma. He joined the RAMC at the beginning of the second world war and in 1942 he was seconded to the Chemical Defence Experimental Station at Porton. From there he was sent to Australia to begin investigations into chemical defence under tropical conditions, and was responsible for founding the Australian Field Experimental Station, of which he became chief superintendent. Each year he visited England, America and Canada for consultations on chemical warfare. At the end of the war on the passage home he studied for the MB BS which he took in 1946, followed in 1947 by MD and MRCP. Learning that a lectureship in anatomy was being offered at the College, he went to see Professor Wood Jones and persuaded that brilliant man that he could tackle the job of lecturer at the same time that he worked for his Fellowship, which he obtained in 1949. In the same year, being rather piqued at not being offered the first registrarship available at his old hospital, he obtained the post of research director in the pharmaceutical firm of Evans Medical, and within a year his great administrative gifts led to his joining the board of the company as production director. In this post he was so successful that he eventually became chairman. When Evans Medical was taken over by Glaxo he became a director of the larger concern. Unfortunately ill-health forced his retirement at the early age of 52. Subsequently he occupied himself in farming in his native Devon, and in undertaking locum work, both locally and overseas.

Freddie Gorrill had a brilliant and incisive mind, which could seize immediately on the essentials of a problem. He was a born organiser and planner, with a flair for delegating work constructively. His remarkable intellectual equipment was allied to a warm and engaging personality. He could talk persuasively on almost any subject - an ability which rendered him a formidable negotiator - and his excellent memory provided him with a store of entertaining reminiscences. He was the most likeable of men, a good mixer and a firm friend.

He married Muriel Hey, an art student of Paignton, in 1935 and they had one son and a daughter. He died of coronary thrombosis on 31 December 1974 in Rhodesia, while acting as locum tenens.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet 1975, 1, 350; Brit med J 1975, 1, 462; Information from Mrs Gorrill].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England