James Thornton SMALLEY [1882-1961] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

James Thornton SMALLEY [1882-1961]

James Thornton
c.1882-01-01 (Month, Day are approximate)

John Black's list gives Dr. Smalley's DoB as 1883, and his occupation in 1941 as "Physician & Surgeon".


His obituary appeared on page 654 of the Sep2 2, 1961 edition of the British Medical Journal:


Dr. J. T. Smalley, who served in the Colonial Medical Service first in Fiji and then in Hong Kong, died in Cambridge on August 17.

James Thornton Smalley, who was born in 1882, was the son of Major-General F. Smalley, of the Indian Army. Qualifying at Guy’s Hospital in 1907, he held the posts of out-patient officer and house-surgeon at Guy’s and then went out to Fiji as resident medical officer at the Colonial Hospital, Suva. Later he became medical officer of health and port medical officer at Seonka. He moved to Hong Kong in 1913. and one of his first posts there was medical officer in charge of Kowloon and the New Territories. In 1931 he was promoted senior medical officer and later became deputy director of medical services. He retired to Cambridge some years ago and was chairman of the Ministry of Pensions medical board there and consultant in tropical medicine to the East Anglian regional hospital board.

Sir Philip Manson-Bahr writes: I would like to pay a brief tribute to my very old friend, of over 50 years’ standing, James Smalley. He was there to greet me when I at last arrived in Fiji on January 12, 1910. He was then fresh from Guy's and married to an ex-surgical sister of the same hospital. He was bubbling over with surgical enthusiasm and was very soon to prove his quite outstanding boldness and skill in tackling many of the strange and unfamiliar surgical conditions with which he found himself surrounded. Of these weird and wonderful things, the most part were of filarial origin. It proved to be the paradise of the Pacific form of Filaria bancrofti, as this parasite was properly known in those days. There were elephantoid tumours of the arms, legs, and breasts, hydroceles, and enormously enlarged lymphatic glands. There were also some poor wretches with high fever and ankylosis of the hip hitherto diagnosed as tuberculous disease. These he soon proved to be of filarial origin, secondarily infected with streptococci, so that they could be successfully treated by drainage.

Had it not been for James Smalley and his surgical adventures I would have been quite unable to prosecute my studies on the pathology of filariasis. I can never forget his efficiency and kindness to my wife and myself when he brought my eldest daughter into the world, now over fifty years ago.

Truly Smalley was an outstanding surgeon who has left a great reputation behind him in the Colonial Service.