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Biographical entry Mayer, John Henry (1913 - 1983)

TD 1948; MRCS 1935; FRCS 1938; MB BS London 1936; LRCP 1935.

18 January 1913
31 October 1983
Orthopaedic surgeon


John Mayer was born in Hampstead, London, on 18 January 1913, the son of Harold Mayer, a china and glass merchant, and Madge (née Nathan). He was educated at Brighton College and Guy's Hospital, qualifying in 1935. After house posts there and a demonstratorship he passed the FRCS in 1938 and was registrar to the orthopaedic department under Lambrinudi and Stamm. From 1936 he was a member of the Territorial Army (TD 1948) and during the second world war served as a Major RAMC and orthopaedic specialist in the UK and Egypt, being mentioned in despatches after the Battle of El Alamein. Thereafter he was in South Africa and Italy and on demobilisation in 1945 he returned to be chief assistant, orthopaedic department, at Guy's. In 1946 he was one of the first specialist orthopaedic surgeons to be appointed in the South East Metropolitan Region, being responsible for the service at Pembury Hospital and the children's orthopaedic clinics in Kent. He was also on the staff of the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, providing a dedicated service. He was active in management committees particularly of the South East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, and its Legal Actions Working Party of which he held the chair for 22 years.

His paper on Colles' fracture was published in the British journal of surgery in 1931 and another on fractures of the femoral neck in the Lancet in 1964. He was honorary secretary of the Section of Orthopaedics of the Royal Society of Medicine 1956-1958. In 1961 symptoms appeared of ischaemic heart disease and peripheral vascular disease which were to test his cheerful stoicism. On retirement he enjoyed gardening and orchid growing. In 1947 he married Sheila Joan Lesser (the daughter of Henry Lesser, CBE, lay member of many medical bodies) and they had two sons Andrew and David, one of whom entered medicine, and one daughter, Jessica. He died on 31 October 1983.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1984, 288, 496 with portrait; Lancet 1984, 1, 176].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England