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Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 1 year, 3 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


Source Scotch College commemorative website. 


Fairley N H   Capt        Neil Hamilton           14 AGH    25    Medical practitioner    Single    Pres        

Address:    Moonee Ponds, Moore St, 177    

Next of Kin:    Fairley, J, father, 177 Moore St, Moonee Ponds    

Enlisted:    5 Sep 1915    

Embarked:     RMS Kashgar 5 Sep 1916

Prior service: AAMC 

Awards:  OBE, MID


Relatives on Active Service:

Fairley J F Capt brother DOI



Captain Neil Hamilton Fairley


Neil Hamilton Fairley (15 July 1891 – 19 April 1966) was an Australian physician, medical scientist, and army officer; who was instrumental in saving thousands of Allied lives from malaria and other diseases. 


He attended Scotch College and the University of Melbourne.  He joined the Australian Army Medical Corps on 5 September 1915.   Shortly afterwards his brother, Captain James Fairburn Fairley, who was serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, died in France of.  Neil Fairley investigated an epidemic of meningitis that was occurring in Army camps in Australia  in 1915.  Troops were isolated in a camp at the Showgrounds in Ascot Vale.


Neil Fairley embarked for overseas service in September 1916.  While with the 14th General Hospital in Cairo, he investigated schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease,  and developed tests and treatments for the disease.  


Fukhari, Palestine. A number of unidentified medical officers of the Mounted

Desert Corps, presumably all doctors, gathered together to hear a lecture by

Major N H Fairley. AWM Collection  http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/B02939


Officers of the 14 Australian General Hospital photographed in Cairo, Egypt, circa

1917.  Australian War Memorial Collection http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/P00812.001


Old Scotch Collegians at the 14 AGH, Egypt.  Published in Collegian in 1917.Source: Scotch College commemorative website.


He took the opportunity while still in England after the war to take further study into tropical diseases, and he followed his interest in this area of medicine in his subsequent career. 

During the Second World War Fairley rejoined the Australian Army as Director of  Medicine. He played an important role in the planning for the Battle of Greece, convincing the British Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Archibald Wavell to alter his campaign plan to reduce the danger from malaria. In the South West Pacific Area, Fairley became responsible for coordinating the activities of all allied forces in the fight against malaria and other tropical diseases. Fairley again sounded the alarm on the dangers of malaria, persuading authorities in the United States and United Kingdom to greatly step up production of anti-malarial drugs. Through the activities of the LHQ Medical Research Unit, he fast-tracked research into new drugs. Fairley convinced the Army of the efficacy of the new drug atebrin, and persuaded commanders to adopt a tough approach to administering the drug to the troops. 

After the war Fairley returned to London where he became a consulting physician to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Wellcome Professor of Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A serious illness in 1948 forced him to resign his professorship, but he retained his practice and membership of numerous committees, becoming an "elder statesman" of tropical medicine.



Australian War Memorial Collection and Nominal Rolls 




Citation of award of OBE for Major N H Fairley


Brilliant research work in Pathology - the result of eighteen months patient and skilful work in the laboratory of the 14th Australian General Hospital.  His work on Bilharziasis will be of untold value to the civilian population in Egypt.

Rank: Major
Unit: Australian Army Medical Corps
Service: Army
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Award: Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: 23 May 1919
Location in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: Page 890, position 8
Date of London Gazette: 1 January 1919
Location in London Gazette: Page 54, position 6


Mentioned in Despatches


Rank: Major
Unit: Australian Army Medical Corps
Service: Army
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Award: Mention in despatches
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: 23 May 1919
Location in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette: Page 895, position 80
Date of London Gazette: 22 January 1919
Location in London Gazette: Page 1165, position 44


Brigadier Neil Hamilton Fairley, KBE, CStJ, FRACP, FRCP, FRCPE, FRS. 

(Source:  Wikipedia)


War Service Commemorated

Essendon Town Hall A-F

Ascot Vale Presbyterian Church

Scotch College

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