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Biographical entry Gervis, Walter Harvey (1901 - 1981)

MRCS 1924; FRCS 1927; MA MB BCh Cambridge 1921; LRCP 1924.

22 February 1901
Brighton, Sussex
28 February 1981
Orthopaedic surgeon


Walter Harvey Gervis was born on 22 February 1901 in Brighton, Sussex, the son of Henry Gervis, medical practitioner and Matilda Death, a miller's daughter. His great, great grandfather was in practice in Ashburton. His great grandfather practiced in Tiverton and his grandfather was obstetric physician at St Thomas' Hospital. A great uncle and a great, great uncle and two second cousins were also in general practice. One of his sons is in general practice in Hertfordshire. A truly medical family.

Gervis was educated at Brighton College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he gained a BA Hons in natural science and St Thomas' Hospital where he gained the Cheselden Medal in 1923. He held resident posts at St Thomas' Hospital and became orthopaedic consultant at the Kent and Sussex Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, at the West Kent Hospital and the Maidstone and Victoria Hospital, Maidstone. He wrote many papers and was especially interested in backache in general practice. He retired from his hospital appointment in 1966 but continued to work as a locum in the area for at least another five years.

Gervis was a man of many interests which included carpentry, upholstery, mending china and bee-keeping. He was a keen musician as a performer and writer and had a lifelong interest in boats. He was a remarkably energetic man and took a great interest in the administration of his hospitals and in his own clinical units. He was always concerned about the well-being of his staff and his patients and was immensely proud of the fact that his son made the sixth generation in medicine.

He had a happy retirement and was survived by his wife Sybil, two sons and a daughter. He died peacefully on 28 February 1981 at the age of 80.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 282, 999].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England