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Biographical entry Hulme-Moir, Francis Ian (1938 - 1980)

MRCS and FRCS 1967; MB BS Sydney 1962; MS London 1974; FRACS 1971.

26 January 1938
Sydney, Australia
27 December 1980
General surgeon, Paediatric surgeon and Vascular surgeon


Francis Ian Hulme-Moir was born on 26 January 1938 in Sydney, the son of the Rev Frank Hulme-Moir who later became a Bishop and Chaplain-General of the Australian Armed Forces. He was the eldest of three children. He received his secondary education at Shaw College Sydney and graduated MB (Honours) from Sydney University where he was awarded an athletics blue. He held junior hospital posts in Sydney and in 1966 came to England to continue his surgical training. He became lecturer in surgery at St Bartholomew's Medical College and senior registrar in general surgery at the Royal Berkshire before returning to Wellington in 1970 as surgical tutor (consultant status) at the Wellington Clinical School and specialist surgeon. He had gained his FRCS in 1966, FRACS in 1971 and MS London in 1974. During his four years in New Zealand he maintained his interest in paediatric, vascular and general surgery and also developed a strong interest in surgery of the head and neck. He established an enviable reputation amongst his colleagues who recognised his particular surgical skill and devotion to duty and this was recognised in his appointment as registrar to the Cancer Consultation Clinic. He made solid contributions to research in the field of human gastric motility and presented papers at a number of scientific meetings in Australasia and the Far East.

In 1974 he was approached by the New Zealand Church Missionary Society to consider taking up a post at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMG) and he responded to this call in 1975 despite warnings from some colleagues that he was imperilling his professional career, and the prospect of a drastic cut in salary. Here his previous wide experience proved invaluable as he was able to provide, with others, top level surgical expertise for referrals from the 8,000,000 people in Northern Tanzania. He gained deep respect from both his nursing and professional colleagues and the students he taught. He took active responsibility in a local church and was involved in outdoor activities with the local Mountain Club, in particular pioneering a new route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1978. He became head of the department of surgery at KCMC in 1979 and his surgical skills were quickly recognised at the University of Dar-es-Salaam where he regularly examined the MD and MMed degrees. With others he developed new techniques for the closure of decubitus ulceration in paraplegics and planned a manual of paediatric surgery geared to the East African situation. He was a regular contributor to surgical meetings in East Africa and at KCMC seminars.

His family were always important to him. He had married Helen Ardrey of Wellington before his 1966 visit to England and their home was rarely without visitors as they extended warm hospitality to others. The happy chaos provided by his five children was in itself a powerful witness to the Christian faith that had taken this brilliant young surgeon from the security of New Zealand to the uncertainty of East Africa.

His final illness was short and totally unexpected. He died of fulminant viral hepatitis on the 27 December 1980 aged 42. His funeral service in Moshi was attended by 600 people and memorial services were held at Wellington Cathedral and in Nelson and Christchurch. He was survived by his wife and their children Michael, Agnes, Rebekah, Charlotte and Caleb.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1981, 282, 486, 746; NZ med J 1981, 93, 280; Med J Aust 1981, 1, 545].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England