Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Perkins, George (1892 - 1980)

MC 1917; MRCS 1919; FRCS 1921; MA BCh Oxford 1916; MCh 1921.

22 September 1892
Staines, Middlesex
22 October 1980
Orthopaedic surgeon


George Perkins was born in Staines, Middlesex, on 22 September 1892, the second child and elder son of George James Perkins, a butcher, and Lilian Straker, a retired stationer. Perkins was deeply indebted to his father whom he described as a 'marvellous man' who left school at the age of 12 and later taught his son to enjoy Milton. After education at Hurstpierpoint College, Perkins secured a scholarship to Hertford College, Oxford.

On the outbreak of the first world war he enlisted in the Army but was sent back to continue his medical studies at St Thomas's Hospital. Immediately after qualifying he joined the RAMC and was posted to East Africa where he was awarded the Military Cross and was taken prisoner and escaped. Demobilised with the rank of Major he returned to St Thomas's as a house surgeon and worked with Sir Max Page in the Orthopaedic Centre at Shepherds Bush. After securing his FRCS and mastership in the same year he won the first Robert Jones Prize. Having been elected as honorary assistant surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, he settled in the new orthopaedic department at St Thomas's Hospital where he continued to work between the wars.

Perkins rejoined the RAMC as surgical specialist with the rank of Major at the outbreak of the second world war. He was with a casualty clearing station in France but was invalided out of the Army in 1941 after a serious illness. During a long period of convalescence he wrote his first book on fractures and then began to work again at Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton. He was elected President of the British Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and in 1948 was appointed as the first Professor of Surgery at St Thomas's, giving up his private orthopaedic practice and devoting himself entirely to general surgery. In 1954, having laid the foundations of the new professorial unit and published his book Foundations of surgery, he resigned from the chair and took charge of the hospital orthopaedic department until his retirement in 1957. Perkins had been closely connected with the British Journal of bone and joint surgery for several years and was chairman of its editorial board. After his retirement he published three further books: Fractures and dislocations 1958, Orthopaedics 1961 and Reminiscences of an orthopaedic surgeon 1970.

Essentially a modest person, he characteristically completed the section on publications in his curriculum vitae with the entry 'None of any importance except to myself.' He married Frances Blanch Gill in 1919 and they had one daughter who qualified in medicine. He died on 22 October 1980, aged 88.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1980, 280, 58].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England