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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 75:1502-1503 doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.016170
  • Historical note

Sir Gordon Holmes (1876–1965)

  1. J M S Pearce
  1. 304 Beverley Road, Anlaby, East Yorks HU10 7BG; jmspearce@freenet.co.uk

      Gordon Morgan Holmes1–6 was born in Castlebellingham, Ireland, of a Yorkshire protestant family. He was a shy, solitary child whose mother died young. He qualified at Trinity College Dublin in 1899. At Richmond Asylum in Dublin he was awarded the Stewart Scholarship, which financed a visit to Frankfurt, where he studied comparative anatomy with Weigert (1845–1904) and Edinger (1855–1918). When he returned in 1902 he became RMO to Hughlings Jackson at Queen Square. He quickly mastered clinical work, and “brought it to a state of well-nigh scientific perfection”. His exhaustive yet rapid examination routine was unprecedented.1,4 He became physician to the Royal London Ophthalmic (Moorfields) and to Charing Cross Hospitals.

      Myopia thwarted his volunteering for war service. Frustrated, he joined the staff of a Red Cross hospital just behind the frontline in France.7 His impressive work persuaded the War Office to renegotiate his disqualification. Holmes became consulting neurologist to the British Expeditionary Force in France. War injuries allowed him to study the …