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Dr James Moorhead (1850 - 1918):
Surgeon


James Moorhead was born at Smithborough, County Monaghan, son of Thomas Moorhead, gentleman farmer, of Killykeeragh, and younger brother of John Moorhead and William Roberrt Moorhead. James was educated at Monaghan Diocesan School before studying Arts at Queen’s College Galway, graduating BA with first class honours of the Queen’s University in Ireland (QUI) in 1871, proceeding MA (with honours and Gold Medal) in 1872, and then enrolling at Queen’s College, Belfast, with a Pul Exhibition, winning Malcolm (1885) and Coulter (1875) Exhibitions. He graduated MD (QUI) in 1875.

In 1876 he became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) and in 1877 joined the Indian Medical Service (IMS), Bengal Establishment, being placed first in the entrance examinations and winning the Herbert Prize and the Sir R Martin Gold Medal. Rapid promotion followed: to surgeon major in 1888, then to surgeon lieutenant-general in 1896. However, for reasons now obscure, he returned to Ireland that year, aged 45, settled in Belfast and in 1898 formally retired from the IMS in the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

He was appointed that year to lecture in tropical medicine at Queen’s College, Belfast in a part-time capacity. On 4 April 1898 he joined the Belfast Literary Society and on 5 December that year read what would be his only paper before the Society, entitled “The Literature and Languages of India”. He resigned from the Society that year on moving to London where he established a general practice at 15 Kensington Park Road. Subsequently he retired to Boscombe, Bournemouth, Hampshire, where he died in 1918.

Moorhead married twice. In 1879 while in the IMS he married Mary Jane Gray, daughter of Joseph Gray of County Monaghan; she died in 1890. His second wife was Harriette Rentoul of Manorcunningham, County Donegal, whom he married on 4 October 1899. They had two sons and four daughters.


Born: 1850
Died: 1918
Peter Froggatt
Bibliography:

RSJ Clarke: A Directory of Ulster Doctors (who qualified before 1901), vol II, p 831 (Belfast, Ulster Historical Foundation, 2013); Obituary, British Medical Journal, 10 August 1918, pp 148-9