Lives of the fellows

Charles Collier

b.16 July 1785 d.6 May 1870
FRS(1830) MD St And(1840) FRCS FRCP(1849)

Charles Collier was the son of William and Elizabeth Collier. His medical career began in 1805, when he entered the army as a medical cadet and surgeon’s mate. In the next year, he was gazetted assistant surgeon and posted to the 13th Foot in the West Indies. He was promoted to surgeon in 1809 and served with the 60th Foot and 70th Foot. In 1812 he joined the troops in the Peninsula as a staff surgeon, and thereafter saw action at Vittoria, Orthez, Toulouse and Waterloo. In 1817 a further posting sent him to Ceylon, where he was senior medical officer at Trincomalee and later in charge of civilian and military hospitals at Colombo. He was responsible for a marked improvement in the island’s hospital administration and for encouraging vaccination. As a hobby, he formed a collection of shells of the Indian Ocean and founded a local natural history museum. For these achievements he was elected F.R.S. in 1830. From 1828 to 1833, Collier acted as principal medical officer of Mauritius, being promoted to deputy inspector-general of hospitals in 1830. His final station, before his retirement on half-pay in 1838, was Bombay.

On his return to England, Collier proceeded to take the St. Andrew’s M.D. degree in 1840. Fellowship of both Royal Colleges followed in the next decade. St. Pancras Royal General Dispensary made him its consulting physician in 1845. A scholar of ancient and modern languages, he took a keen interest in literary and scientific affairs in his later years. He wrote Aristotle on the Vital Principle (1855)—a work which earned the Master of Trinity’s commendation—an essay on the Principles of Education (1856) and The History of the Plague of Athens (1857). He was an active member of the Geological Society and of the Royal Institution. He married in 1822 Christina, daughter of Rev. John Johnstone of Crossmichael, Kirkcudbright, by whom he had several children. He died in London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1870; Plarr, i, 260; Roll of Army Medical Service, 2679]

(Volume IV, page 55)

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