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Biographical entry Mes, Gerrit Marie (1903 - 1978)

MRCS and FRCS 1936.

30 June 1903
Dubbeldoorn, Netherlands
3 June 1978
General surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Gerrit Mes was born at Dubbeldoorn, the Netherlands, on 30 June 1903 and went to South Africa with his parents in 1914. His father was a general medical practitioner at Bronkhorstspruit. After matriculating in Pretoria, Mes was a teacher for one year at Dullstroom before he enrolled for a three-year medical course at SACS, Cape Town. He then travelled to the Netherlands where he took his degree in medicine.

Before returning home he practised as a doctor for a Dutch company and spent six years in China working mostly as a surgeon. In 1936 he came to London and, after further study, obtained the Fellowship of the College. In 1937 he returned to South Africa and practised at Krugersdorp. He achieved specialist status in 1940 and performed general and orthopaedic surgery at the local hospital. He devoted much of his time to the care of the handicapped and became chairman of SANTA, the Blood Transfusion Service and the Cripple Care Association.

A true eclectic, his artistic talents and classical erudition found expression in music, painting, sculpture and ceramics. He was a prolific writer and his published work included contributions to the Journal of the International College of Surgeons (1959), Perspektief (1974) and Mankind quarterly (1975 and 1977). He wrote seven books, two of which were published under pseudonyms and, when he died he left a number of manuscripts in the course of preparation which included learned dissertations on philosophical and ethical topics. In all he was a highly gifted, colourful and humane personality. He died of a pulmonary embolism on 3 June 1978, survived by his wife Marie.

Onder den Baobab Amsterdam, n.d; Now-men and tomorrow-men Johannesburg, 1964; Mr White Man, what now? Johannesburg, 1965; Mundus cognobilis and mundus causalis The Hague, 1970; Faith healing and religion New York, 1975; We want a just state by Mr Everyman; Mining town doctor by Peter Kennedy.

Sources used to compile this entry: [S Afr med J 1978, 53, 680].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England