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Biographical entry Schjelderup, Halfdan ( - 1991)

Kt of St Olaf; Hon FRCS 1982.

Hand surgeon and Plastic surgeon


On Dr Schjelderup's admission to the Honorary Fellowship in 1982, the following citation was delivered by Ian Muir FRCS:

'Dr Schjelderup graduated in medicine in Oslo in 1938 and started training in surgery in Bergen, but in the following year he joined the Royal Norwegian Navy and served during the war, and for this service he received his country's commendation in the form of the Norwegian Service Medal. After the cessation of hostilities the occupying authorities disapproved of his activities and in December 1944 he had to leave Norway and transfer to Britain by the clandestine and dangerous route known as the 'Shetland bus'. Shortly after his arrival in Britain he decided to train in reconstructive surgery and he joined Sir Harold Gillies at Rooksdown House in Basingstoke for three years and returned to Norway in1947.

'During his time in England he and his charming wife Ida made many friends and many British and Commonwealth patients now owe their lives and their livelihood to his skill and care.

'In 1946 he attended a dinner at the College at which Lord Webb-Johnson was the guest of honour and it was then that the seed was sown which grew to be the British Association of Plastic Surgeons. He has therefore been associated with the Association since its very beginnings and has been a most welcome and active member, attending on many occasions and contributing to many of the scientific sessions. He has been a leading pioneer of plastic and reconstructive surgery in his own country and has been particularly active in advancing the treatment of injuries of the hand, burns, and congenital conditions of the face such as cleft lip and palate. He developed his unit in Bergen from small beginnings to become a fully staffed department of the University Hospital providing a service to patients from well to the south of Bergen to the extreme north of the country right up to the Russian border, a distance of nearly 1000 miles as the crow flies. This has been a mammoth undertaking considering the difficulties of communication over this widespread area. In hand surgery he himself pays a special tribute to Sterling Bunnell, whom he visited in 1948. His unit in Bergen is now recognised as the premier department in Norway for surgery of the hand. It also undertakes an extensive teaching commitment for both undergraduate and postgraduates.

'He is a recipient of the Gillies memorial gold medal of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons and is a corresponding member of ten learned societies in Europe. The highest honour of his career came in 1974 when, as a tribute from his countrymen the King of Norway awarded him the Knighthood first class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olaf, the highest Norwegian civil honour.

'Mr President, all of us who know Dr Schjelderup are delighted that the Council has recommended his election to the Honorary Fellowship and we are confident that his election can only add to our own stature.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl 1982 64 363].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England