Herbert Gilles

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 16 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6176
  1. Chris Mahony, London
  1. chris.mahony{at}

International expert on malaria and tropical medicine

Professor emeritus Herbert Gilles, an international expert on malaria and tropical medicine, accrued an esoteric collection of awards during a long life. They ranged from a share of Malta’s George Cross for defying Nazi bombardment as a medical student to Thailand’s Companion of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant.

Gilles, who died in Devon in October, was dean of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) for five years before he formally retired in 1986. The top job capped a long relationship with LSTM, where he studied for a diploma in tropical medicine in 1949. He became professor of tropical medicine in 1970 and was an adviser on malaria to organisations ranging from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the British Army and the Royal Air Force. WHO awarded him the Darling foundation medal, which later sat alongside the LSTM’s Mary Kingsley medal.

Gilles’s influence in tropical medicine education spread well beyond Britain—aided by the LSTM’s offer of a post as lecturer at large in the early 1960s. For five years he spent much of each year teaching in Nigeria, where he formed a department of preventive medicine at Ibadan University. He had already worked as a researcher for the Medical …

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