James Joseph Magennis VC Frances Elizabeth Clarke Stewart Parker Samuel Beckett Sam Hanna Bell William Carleton John Hewitt Rosamond Praegar Bernard (Barney) Hughes

Thomas Eagleson Gordon (1867 - 1929):
Surgeon; anatomist


Thomas Eagleson Gordon was born at Greenfield House, Urney, south-west of Strabane, County Tyrone, to George Gordon JP of Greenfield House, a wine merchant, and Martha Ramsey. Educated, as was his elder brother William, at Brighton, probably like him, at Mr Creak’s school, he entered the University of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD) in 1884 where he studied arts and medicine graduating BA in 1889 and MB BCh in 1890 and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (FRCSI) in 1895. He won the Gold Medal and Hudson Scholarship at the Adelaide Hospital, Dublin where he was a student and house surgeon and, in 1892, assistant surgeon.. On gaining his Fellowship of RCSI he became for a brief period a visiting surgeon to the City of Dublin Hospital, Baggot Street, but resigned in 1896 in order to accept the post of attending surgeon to the Adelaide Hospital succeeding Sir Kendal Franks, and ultimately became senior surgeon in 1915. From his appointment in 1896 until his death in 1929 much of his professional career was bound up with the hospital. However he also retained a strong professional interest in anatomy and its teaching and was for many years a demonstrator in anatomy at TCD and combined these duties with those of curator of the College’s pathology museum whose collections he much enhanced, up-dating and re-arranging those created mainly by Edward Bennett and Robert Smith, making them more amenable for teaching and display. In 1916 he was appointed Professor of Surgery at TCD in succession to Edward Taylor, who that year was appointed to the more senior position of Regius Professor of Surgery. During the First World War Gordon was attached to the 83rd (Dublin) Hospital, BEF (British Expeditionary Force) with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.  

Gordon was active in many professional clubs and societies. He was a member of the Dublin Biological Society (known as the “Senior Bi”), of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland and was vice-president of the section of surgery at the Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association in 1914. He was for a number of years consulting surgeon at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin and, among other attachments, he was the London and Scottish Railway Company’s surgeon for Ireland. In 1926 his alma mater honoured him with the degree of Master of Surgery (MCh) jure officii.  Two years later on 4 June 1928 he was elected President of the RCSI for 1928-1929, and in June 1929 was re-appointed for a further year. However very shortly afterwards he contracted an illness sufficiently serious to oblige him to cease operating and he resigned from the Adelaide Hospital although he continued in consulting practice. On July 24 he died at 23 Pembroke Road in Dublin. The funeral was private but a large gathering of colleagues and friends including representatives of the RCSI, attended a memorial service on 27 July in the chapel of Trinity College Dublin when Canon Griffin paid a suitable tribute to his life and work. He was survived by his wife, Ellen, and their five daughters. The previous President of RCSI, Andrew Fullerton, resumed office until the end of the deceased’s elected year in June 1930. 

“Tommy” Gordon, as he was known, was a highly competent surgeon with a conservative operating technique which reflected his quiet and retiring disposition. Dexterous, he was proficient in almost all branches of general surgery. He was also a keen, patient and accomplished teacher with intellectual interests ranging from archaeology to geology and history and, eschewing sport (except tennis) which held no appeal for him; for recreation he considered nothing better than mountain walking in the English Lake District. Courteous, honest and upright in his profession and in all his dealings and pursuits he built a large practice and lived at 8 Fitzwilliam Square in the heart of the favoured location for successful medical men. He also maintained a respectable activity in publishing mostly unusual case reports in the medical press.



Born: 4 February 1867
Died: 24 July 1929
Peter Froggatt
Bibliography:
RSJ Clarke: Directory of Ulster Doctors (who qualified before 1801) (Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation, 2013, vol. I, pp. 396-7); JB Lyons: An Assembly of Irish Surgeons (Dublin: The Glendale Press & the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 1984, pp.80-1); Obituary, Irish Journal of Medical Science, 4(a); 633 , (1929); Obit (Thomas Eagleson Gordon, M.B., B.Ch), The Lancet, August 3, 1929, p.255; Obit. (Thomas Eagleson Gordon, M.Ch.,  F.R.C.S.I.), British Medical Journal, 3 August 1929, pp. 222-3