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Biographical entry Peet, Brian Gadsby (1923 - 1991)

MRCS and FRCS 1954; MB ChB 1948.

21 November 1991
General surgeon


Brian Gadsby Peet was the only child of Edward Gadsby Peet, a master brewer, and Hilda Harriet Harden, a nurse who had worked as a theatre sister in France in the first world war. He was educated first at the Heath Grammar School in Halifax until the age of thirteen and then sent to board at Denstone College, Staffordshire, where he read Latin and Greek for his Higher School Certificate examination. Wishing to read medicine he had not only to pass the first MB examination but prior to this to take a pre-registration examination in order to be converted from a classicist to a potential scientist, thus increasing the length of his medical course to almost seven years. Qualifying MB ChB in 1948 he became a house surgeon in the Leeds General Infirmary before joining the Royal Air Force as a general duty medical officer in Lubeck, Germany.

Returning from His Majesty's Forces he became a surgical registrar first at Dewsbury General Hospital and then after attending a Fellowship course in Glasgow gained the FRCS. He was then appointed general surgical registrar to Batley General Hospital. On 15 March 1954 he married Pauline Turner, SRN, after a whirlwind courtship of only six weeks' duration.

From Batley he crossed the Pennines to work in Manchester, firstly at the Royal Infirmary and then at the Davy Hulme Hospital, where he came in contact with John Charnley. At this time he wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon but was dissuaded from such a course by Charnley himself, who pointed out that there were few openings in this specialty at that time. He therefore applied for and obtained an appointment on the senior registrar rotation of the Leeds Hospital Board which meant rotating yearly between the three hospitals at that date on the rotation - the Infirmary, Leeds, St James's Hospital, Leeds, and the Bradford Royal Infirmary. In July 1962 he was appointed consultant general surgeon to the Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke's Hospital, in both of which he served until his retirement due to ill health at the age of 63. During this appointment he took a special interest in the treatment of carcinoma of the breast and became a keen protagonist of the chemotherapeutic approach to this condition.

Despite a busy life both in the NHS and in private practice he had many outside interests. In the political field he became chairman and later president of the Shipley Conservative Association; in the community he became chairman of the local Abbeyfield Home for the Aged and Medical Officer to the local Sue Ryder Home. In addition he was a Rotarian and Freemason, rising in his lodge to the position of Grand Lodge Officer. He enjoyed fishing and sailing (he once sailed round England) and he worked for the drama department of the BBC, appearing several times with the actor Robert Donat.

He died on 21 November 1991 survived by his wife and their three sons - Michael Anthony, Vice-President of IMG, Nicholas John, a programme engineer, and John Paul, an applications consultant for BACG.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Information from his wife, Mrs P Gadsby Peet].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England