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Biographical entry Hallett, Geoffrey St John (1911 - 1997)

MRCS 1936; FRCS 1942; BA Cambridge 1933; MB BCh 1936.

27 September 1911
Pyrford, Surrey
3 November 1997
General practitioner and General surgeon


Geoffrey Hallett was born at Pyrford, Surrey, on 27 September 1911. His father, Norman Hallett, owned the Wings fleet of cargo ships which regularly travelled between Cardiff and South America. His mother was Annie née Bashford. Geoffrey was educated at Stubbington Prep School and Wellington. He then went on to Clare College, Cambridge, and St Thomas's. He qualified in 1936, and then worked at Hampstead New End Hospital.

When war broke out he joined the RAMC and was posted to Woolwich Hospital. In 1940 he was posted overseas, to the hospital at Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. Two years later, he joined No 4 General Hospital in Alexandria, and was then moved to Haifa, to the Suez Canal No 1 General Hospital at Kantara near Ismalia. It was here that he met his future wife, Patricia Hammersley-Smith, a theatre sister with the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. They were married in Cairo Cathedral in 1945 and, because it was a service rule that married couples were not allowed to work in the same hospital, Patricia was made to work in the 15th Scottish Hospital on the banks of the Nile, while Geoffrey was working at the 63rd General Hospital in Heliopolis. Patricia rebelled and joined the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), as a result of which she met many leading people in the entertainment business who went out to Cairo to entertain the forces.

In 1946, the couple returned to England, with Geoffrey returning to St Thomas's Hospital. Later that year he took up an appointment as a GP surgeon in Lymington. After 18 months, he obtained an NHS contract as general consultant surgeon for the Southampton General Hospital and also covered the Royal South Hants, Lymington, Hythe and Milford Hospitals - a post he retained for 30 years before retiring in 1976. He successfully defended Lymington Hospital from being downgraded on three occasions.

A courteous, gentle and rather shy man, his interests apart from surgery included sailing and skiing, and he was also a talented carpenter, expertly restoring antique furniture. He also enjoyed painting in oils and watercolours. For 21 years he suffered from Parkinson's disease. He is survived by his wife, his son, Nigel, who is a missionary in Islamabad, three daughters, Clare, Louise and Tamsin, and five grandchildren. He died on 3 November 1997.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lymington Times 8 November 1997; BMJ 1998 316 478].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England