Lives of the fellows

Alfred Bertram Soltau

b.21 March 1876 d.26 July 1930
CBE(1919) CMG(1916) TD MB Lond(1900) MD FRCS(1902) FRCP(1925)

Alfred Soltau received his education in Tasmania, where his father, George Soltau, a nonconformist minister, was in charge of a mission church. He learned his medicine at the London Hospital, winning many honours, which included the Anderson prize for clinical medicine, and graduating as M.B. in 1900. He held a number of junior appointments in the London Hospital and qualified as F.R.C.S. in 1902. He made his permanent home in Plymouth, where his family was well known, and, after working at the Public Dispensary, was elected to the staffs of the Devon and Cornwall Ear and Throat Hospital and of the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital. He also joined a Volunteer bearer company, and, when war broke out nine years later, went out to France in command of the 2nd Wessex Field Ambulance. In 1916 he was promoted to colonel and made consulting physician to the First and Second Armies, and in 1918 received the same appointment to the War Office and the Ministry of Pensions, to advise on gas cases of which he had gained useful experience. For his services he was created C.M.G. in 1916 and C.B.E. in 1919, and received the Croix de Guerre in 1918. After his return to civilian life, he played a large part in local public affairs. He was a member of the Plymouth borough council from 1919 to 1925, chairman of the public health committee and president of the Plymouth Conservative Association. Soltau, although handicapped by illness, was public-spirited, energetic and courageous, but his character lacked the cheerfulness and warmth that would have brought popularity. He married in 1903 Edith Mary, daughter of W. E. Watts of Plymouth, by whom he had a son and a daughter. He died in London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1930; B.M.J., 1930]

(Volume IV, page 601)

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