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Biographical entry Pearce, Thomas Vibert (1900 - 1975)

MRCS 1923; FRCS 1928; MB BS London 1923, MD 1931; LRCP 1923.

26 March 1900
12 November 1975
General surgeon


Thomas Vibert Pearce was born on 26 March 1900 and educated at Newport Grammar School, Isle of Wight. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service and became a pilot. Eighteen months later he entered St Thomas's and in 1923 graduated MB BS. Resident appointments followed at St Thomas's, St Giles', and the Royal Northern Hospitals. He became FRCS in 1928 and proceeded MD in 1931. In 1932 he was appointed surgeon to Harrogate and District General Hospital and soon afterwards to the Royal Bath and Ripon Hospitals.

Tom Pearce was probably among the last of the general surgeons. In his early years at Harrogate he undertook a considerable amount of orthopaedic and gynaecological surgery, but it was during the second world war that his versatility and physical endurance became more evident. After operating all day he would cope with emergencies during the night and the length and diversity of his lists were the envy and admiration of visiting surgeons. Intracranial neoplasms were removed with results comparable to those of the specialised centres, and he was among the first in Britain to perform mitral valvotomies, the anaesthetics being given by his wife Jane, whom he had met at the Royal Northern Hospital. They married in 1933 and had one son and three daughters, one of whom holds a Diploma in Ophthalmology of the College. He had little time for activities outside surgery, but his interest in mathematics was reflected in a paper in Biometrika in 1930. He had a large collection of stamps and liked to acquire information about Westminster Abbey. He was secretary of the Harrogate Medical Society for five years and its President in 1954. Chairman of the Harrogate Division of the BMA in 1949, he was President of the Yorkshire Branch in 1954. When the Annual Meeting of the Association was held at Harrogate in 1949 he was President of the Section of Surgery. After retirement he acted as a locum consultant surgeon, mainly in remote parts of Scotland.

He died on 12 November 1975, aged 75 years, and his records of practice at Harrogate General Hospital and Ripon and Scotton Hospitals were donated by his widow to the College and are now deposited in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1975, 4, 654].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England