b.19 February 1875 d.17 July 1944
CSI OBE(1918) MD MSc DPH Bristol FRCS(1902) FRCP(1919)
Percival Mackie, the son of Rev. John Mackie, rector of Fylton, Gloucestershire, was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham. He won many prizes when a medical student at Bristol University and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and qualified in 1897. He then served in house appointments at the Bristol General and Fever Hospitals and at the County Asylum, Shrewsbury, and in 1902 took the F.R.C.S. diploma. In the same year he joined the Indian Medical Service, his first post being that of medical officer with the Younghusband expedition to Tibet. In 1905 he became assistant director of the Plague Research Laboratory at Bombay, where he made the important discovery that relapsing fever was transmitted by body lice. Then from 1908 to 1910 he served on the Royal Society’s sleeping sickness commission in Uganda. In 1911, however, he returned to India to undertake research on kala-azar in Assam. He also saw active service in Baluchistan, and, during the 1914-1918 War, in France and Mesopotamia, being awarded the O.B.E. in 1918. After the armistice he resumed his career in India, becoming in 1920 professor of pathology at Calcutta, in 1921 director of the Pasteur Institute at Shillong, and in 1923 director of the Haffkine Institute, Bombay, where, with Hamilton Fairley, he did valuable work on sprue. In 1928 he was appointed officiating public health commissioner, Government of India, and chairman of the League of Nations plague committee, and a year later he acted as surgeon-general with the Bombay Government. In 1931 he resumed his post at Shillong for a short time before retiring from the I.M.S. in the following year. Mackie’s active life continued after his return to England. He was pathologist on the staff of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases from 1933 to 1938 and thereafter chief medical officer to the British Overseas Airways Corporation, in which capacity he organised preventive measures against yellow fever on airfields and the fumigation of aeroplanes. He married, firstly, in 1913 Gladys May, daughter of W. J. Ball of Clifton, by whom he had one son, and, secondly, in 1926 Mary Elizabeth, daughter of W. Haddon Owen of Louth, by whom he had two sons. He died at Birnam.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1944; B.M.J., 1944; Roll of I.M.S., 524]
(Volume IV, page 566)
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