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Biographical entry Jelly, George Oliver (1909 - 1994)

MRCS 1934; FRCS 1939; MA, MCh Oxford 1937.

26 April 1909
Bury, Lancashire
25 August 1994
General surgeon


George Oliver Jelly was born on 26 April 1909 in Bury, Lancashire, the son of George Aubrey Jelly, an ophthalmologist, and Kathleen Mary Olive, the daughter of a papermaker. He was educated at Rugby, and read greats at Magdalen College, Oxford, but fell ill just before finals and took up medicine instead. Going on to Guy's Hospital for his clinical training he gained the certificate gold medal in surgery, qualified MRCS, LRCP in 1934, was house surgeon to Grant Massie, and later became an assistant in general practice in Bournemouth and Newcastle under Lyne, during which time he took the primary FRCS and the Oxford MA MCh in 1937.

He took the final FRCS in 1939 and joined the RAMC, ending up with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served in Egypt, Persia, India, France and Germany, where he helped to care for the survivors of Belsen. He returned to become chief surgical assistant at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he was much influenced by Wilson Hey and Peter McEvedy. He was appointed honorary surgeon to Oldham Royal Infirmary before being appointed consultant surgeon to Ancoat's Hospital, Manchester, in 1948.

He was a truly general surgeon, covering the whole range of general and urological surgery, and preferring to operate under epidural anaesthetic, which he administered himself. A colourful, eccentric character, his interests ranged from golf and cricket to writing essays - such as Eyesight and Ditchcraft - a novel entitled We Three, and a study on 20th century fictional illness entitled Psychosomatism. He was also a keen artist, and it was whilst converting a property into a studio that he suffered the fall from which he died on 25 August 1994. He married Phyllis Hilda Russell during his final year at Guy's in 1934, and she died in 1990. They had two daughters, a son, and seven grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 310 799, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England