Lives of the fellows

Bernard Ehrenfried Myers

b.23 March 1872 d.9 May 1957
CMG(1917) MB CM Edin(1898) LM Dubl(1899) MD Edin(1900) MRCS LRCP(1898) MRCP(1912) FRCP(1933)

The last impression left by Bernard Myers was of a lonely octogenarian, lost without the contacts brought by practice and the limelight of two World Wars. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand. His father, Louis Bernard, had emigrated from England to Invercargill in South Island in 1859; his mother was Catharine, daughter of Arthur Ehrenfried, a Hamburg merchant. Following education at Wellington College and Auckland Grammar School, where he was victor ludorum, he was analyst to the family brewing business until he went at the age of twenty-two to the Edinburgh School of Medicine. On qualifying he acted as junior house physician to Sir Dyce Duckworth at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and then developed his undergraduate interest in the diseases of children by clinical assistantships at the Coombe Hospital, Dublin, and at Great Ormond Street and the Royal Waterloo Hospitals in London before marrying Violet, daughter of Lachman Hayman, a shipping merchant, and settling in practice at Hampstead. By 1910 he was on the staffs of the Western General Dispensary and the Royal Waterloo Hospital, and had begun working on the care of children.

In 1915 he was appointed officer commanding the New Zealand Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames, and later became assistant director, and then in 1918 director of medical services to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the United Kingdom; for these services he received the C.M.G. On demobilisation in 1920 he was invited by the medical officer of health of Marylebone to organise a children’s clinic; it did excellent work until 1934 when its unexpended fund of £1,000 was divided between the support of children’s wards at the Royal Waterloo Hospital and the foundation of the Charles West lecture of the College. Myers then went on a lecture tour to the United States and Honolulu, and represented the B.M.A, at its conference in Dunedin.

Three years’ practice in Harley Street was followed by his appointment as commissioner to the New Zealand Red Cross Society in London, and in 1942 as representative of the New Zealand Government. He was the genial but diffident chairman of the sub-committee on measures practicable to combat tuberculosis during the emergency period of the Second World War. He enjoyed this post as much as he did his presidencies of the West London Medico-Chirurgical Society and of the clinical section of the Royal Society of Medicine, for they added to the numerous acquaintances he had made in Hampstead and through membership of the Savage Club: theatrical people like Ellaline Terris and Leslie Stuart, and distinguished men like Lord Rutherford and Stanley Casson, the archaeologist.

His wife died in 1953, and on his death he was survived by three daughters.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1957, 1, 1187-8; Lancet, 1957, 1, 1049; Times, 11 May 1957.]

(Volume V, page 300)

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