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Dr George Redpath (1892-1951)

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This page has biographical details of George Redpath (1892-1951): his education, war service, and post-war problems as reported in newspapers.

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Dr George Redpath's (1892-1951) early life promised success, but injuries received during the 1914-1918 World War ruined the early promise. The newspaper articles collected on this page indicate the numerous troubles he had following his return from war.

George was born in 1892 in Otago. In 1893 his parents and family moved to Gisborne, and eventually to a farm at Rakauroa. He attended primary school at Whakarau and Rakauroa.

In 1905 George won a Junior National Scholarship at the Education Department's examinations which entitled him to free schooling and a boarding grant at high school. He attended school in Gisborne. In 1908 he won a Senior National Scholarship which also paid his high school and boarding fees, and he was able to complete his secondary schooling. George was the first dux of the Gisborne High School in 1909 and he had the ninth highest mark in the University examinations for Senior National Scholarship that year. He qualified for entry into Medical School at Otago University and began his studies there in 1910.

The day after New Zealand declared war on 4 August 1914, George, together with 20 other final year medical students, volunteered to join the Expeditionary Force as medical officers. The students sat their exams, were passed, commissioned, and joined the medical corps. They were not registered, probably because obstetrics and gynecology training was incomplete. George completed his training while overseas.

George left New Zealand in 1915 and was soon on active service with the Army Medical Corps, becoming a Captain in July 1916. As noted in the newspaper articles he was was wounded three times, was blown up twice, was gassed, and had malaria several times. He was invalided home on account of shell shock at the end of January 1918. He applied to have his name placed on the Medical Register on 24 June 1918.

Shortly after his return from the war George married Mary Mortleman from Matawai, and the couple lived at Rakauroa. During the Flu Epidemic of 1918 George worked day and night doctoring the flu victims in the Rakauroa, Matawai and Motu districts. Only one patient died. He recommended to avoid the flu that a mixture made with condy's crystals and salt be gargled and sniffed up the nose at least once a day. The treatment kept the flu away.

In April 1919 George and Mary moved to the Chatham Islands, where George was a medical practitioner, but also appointed sheriff, a Justice of the Peace, and a member of the Chatham Islands Licensing Committee. In 1920 Mary died in childbirth while George was away attending to another patient.

In 1923 he married Isabella MacDonald, a nurse who had served overseas during the war with Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Isabella was the Matron at Whitianga Hospital where George was resident in 1922 according to electoral rolls, having treatment for alcoholism. George practiced medicine in Opotiki and in Henderson, Auckland, but because of alcoholism, was in court from time to time.

According to electoral rolls, George and Isabella lived in Wellington from 1938 and George did not continue to practice medicine. Isabella died in 1950 and George in 1951.

George and Mary Redpath

Mary Redpath (nee Mortleman) and George Redpath,
Christmas 1918.
Source - Marian Lewes, Gisborne

Photo of George Redpath

Dr George Redpath in Christchurch

George and Isabella Redpath

Isabella Redpath (nee MacDonald) and George Redpath

For genealogy details, go to George REDPATH on RootsWeb


Comment - The photographs above illustrate the lack of concern by the medical profession about smoking a hundred years ago.


Acknowledgment - Besides the newspaper articles on this page, family members provided some of the information above. George's sister Charlotte wrote an article "Redpath Family Memories" that had some details of her brother's life.

Post-script - George became an embarrassment for his family due to the need to get him out of trouble and support him during treatment for alcoholism.


War Service

Newspaper logo

27 January 1916, Page 2

Amongst the Gisbornites who have been serving with the British Forces in France is George Redpath, son of Mrs. Redpath, of Rakauroa. This young man, his many friends will remember proved a brilliant pupil at the Gisborne School, and subsequently at the Gisborne High School. He chose for himself a medical career, and after obtaining the highest honours possible at Gisborne entered the Dunedin University, where he had a successful course, eventually passing his final examination as a doctor. In March last he went to England to join the Royal Army Medical Corps, and proceeded to France on active service. Since being at the front the Gisbornite has had numerous narrow escapes, both from snipers and poisonous gas. On one occasion he was slightly “gassed,” but quickly recovered; but in the battle of Loos in September last he received a dose of the poisonous vapour, as a result of which he was invalided back to England. Fortunately he has made a good recovery, and is now convalescent at Falmouth, doing light duties.

The Press

21 October 1916, Page 8

Captain George Redpath, R.A.M.C., of Gisborne, is now in London, having been invalided from Mesopotamia, where he was attached to the I.E.F. Captain Redpath hopes to be fit for active service again shortly. He met a few Wellington men in Mesopotamia, and they were delighted to have New Zealand papers. He was doing duty at an isolation camp in Mesopotamia, and contracted "double tertian" malaria with complications, and so was returned via Bombay. Captain Redpath's movements are problematical, as he is still under medical care.


Following two years with the Imperial Forces in the Royal Army Medical Corps (8 July 1915 to 8 July 1917), George was honourably discharged at his own request in London to join the New Zealand forces. He then served in Egypt with the NZ Medical Corp until the end of the war. He was discharged from the army in April 1918.

Wife's death

Newspaper logo

22 September 1920, Page 6

It is with great regret that many residents of the Gisborne district, and particularly Makauri and Rakauroa settlers, will hear of the death of Mrs. Redpath, (wife of Dr. George Redpath, at Chatham Islands. Mrs. Redpath was the eldest daughter of Mr. A. Mortleman, of Makauri and Rakauroa, and was 26 years of age. Born in Taranaki, the late Mrs. Redpath had been resident in Gisborne for 15 years before her marriage to Dr. George Redpath, shortly after his return from the war. In April last Dr. and Mrs. Redpath travelled to Chatham Islands, where the doctor has attained considerable advancement in his profession and in the public life of the settlement. Wireless advice of her death was received yesterday by the parents of Mrs. Redpath.


Evening Post

7 November 1921, Page 8


"A victim of alcohol" was the description given by Chief-Detective Kemp to man named George Redpath, who was charged in the Magistrate's Court to-day with having obtained a wristlet watch, valued at £5 10s, and £4 10s in money from Stewart Dawson and Co., by means of a valueless cheque. The evidence went to show that the accused went to Stewart Dawson and Co.'s shop and tendered a cheque for £10, drawn on the Bank of New Zealand, Christchurch. The cheque had later been returned marked: "No account." In a statement to Detective-Sergeant Andrews, the accused admitted that the cheque was valueless, but stated that he had omitted to strike out the word "Christchurch." He thought he had money in Gisborne, contributed by a number of his friends. In his evidence, Redpath said that he would not give the names of the friends who had contributed the money.

The Magistrate (Mr. F. K. Hunt, S.M.), after reading a letter from the accused's friends, stating that his trouble was drink, convicted Redpath and ordered him to come up for sentence when called upon, a condition being that he should enter the inebriates' home at Rotoroa for a period of twelve months.

New Zealand Herald

15 September 1923, Page 10




Extraordinary evidence was given in the Hamilton Magistrate's Court to-day in connection with three charges of theft preferred against George Redpath, medical practitioner, Auckland. The articles concerned were a pair of shoes, a walking stick, and an overcoat. The accused, who was represented by Mr. W. J. King, pleaded not guilty.

Evidence was given by Robert Blackie that the accused, who gave his name as Richards, stayed at the same boarding house as witness in Hamilton on September 4. Witness found a pair of shoes and a walking-stick missing from his room, and identified the articles produced as his property.

Harold Clark, second-hand dealer, said that on September 4, accused sold him an overcoat for 15s. He also sold his hat for 3s. On September 6, he brought in a pair of shoes and sold them for 12s. He redeemed his hat on that occasion. Accused gave his name as Ted Richards. He looked peculiar.

Constable Sutton deposed to arresting accused on a charge of theft. He had gone to an hotel under the name of McGregor. He had a walking-stick in his possession, but could not say how he obtained it. Accused looked as if he was recovering from the effects of a drinking bout when he was arrested.

Mr. King said accused remembered being in Auckland, and being in the cells in Hamilton. He could give no information as to what took place during the intervening two weeks. Counsel said that if he could prove delusional insanity and an absence of intention to steal, then he felt the case should be dismissed.

Dr. Frederick Spencer said he knew the accused in his University days, and in camp. The accused came to his house on September 9, and from the conversation that took place, witness gathered he was suffering from a delusion and loss of memory. His acts would not appeal to his consciousness or his reason.

Mrs. Redpath said she had been married to Dr. Redpath for seven months. The accused was wounded three times at the war. was blown up twice, was gassed, and had malaria several times. He was invalided homo on account of shell shock. Prior to the accused leaving Auckland he spent a restless at his home in Green Lane. In the morning, he said he was going to Auckland to cash a cheque. He did not return. Witness said that six weeks ago, her husband went away for eight days, and was found wandering in Queen Street. He had no financing difficulties, and was quite well off. He had no occasion to commit petty theft. He suffered from recurring malarial attacks, and had had influenza four times in the last eight weeks.

To Senior-Sergeant Mathew: The accused had not been drinking, and he did not take drugs.

In giving evidence, accused said he had no recollection of leaving Auckland or of what occurred in Hamilton. He had not the vaguest idea as to how he got to Hamilton. If he had to diagnose his case he would say that it was a case of loss of identity and the throwing of the nervous organisation of the body out of action.

The magistrate, Mr. H. A. Young said it was clear from the evidence that accused was in an abnormal condition when he came to Hamilton, and had formed no intention to steal the articles. The information would be dismissed.

Auckland Star

31 October 1924, Page 7



A doctor and a publican were the parties concerned in a case which occasioned not a little interest at the Police Court before Mr. J. W. Poynton. S.M., this morning.

Dr. George Redpath (Mr. Blakey) was the informant, alleging that he was assaulted on October 24 by W. H. Overton (Mr. Singer) licensee of the British Hotel.

Mr. Blakey said that informant was a medical practitioner, who had experienced a number of misfortunes since the war, but who had lately been practising his profession in Auckland. On Friday, October 24, informant had an appointment with a patient at the corner of the British Hotel, and arrived there at 12.40 p.m. As his patient had not arrived he thought that he might possibly be inside the hotel, and Dr. Redpath went in. As soon as he had entered the hotel he was requested to attend to a man who had an injured head. Dr. Redpath did not have his bag with him, and suggested that the nearest medical man should be called in. However, a doctor did not arrive, and informant attended to the man, who he then considered was seriously injured. The man was lying in the passage. Informant obtained assistance, carried him into a lounge., and laid him on a bench. Informant then sent a man to get some iodine, cotton wool and a bandage. Counsel said that defendant then came in and told informant that the man would have to be moved out of the lounge. Informant thought that the injured man should not be shifted. While making a close examination, said Mr. Blakey, Dr. Redpath was tripped up by Mr. Overton, and thrown on the floor. As a result, he struck his elbow on the floor, causing three of his fingers to become numb. Defendant then pushed Dr. Redpath out on to the footpath. Through his fingers being injured, Dr. Redpath was not able to perform an operation on the following morning.

The informant gave evidence on lines similar to counsel's opening, adding that Mr. Overton had shaken the injured man by the shoulder, telling him to get out.

A Consulting Man.

Mr. Singer: You had an appointment, you say? — Witness: Yes. I did.

With whom, may I ask? — With a Mr. Sullivan.

Was the appointment inside the hotel? — No.

How long have you been in Auckland doctor? — About two years, but I have had to take a lot of holidays.

Have you rooms where you practice? — Not at present. l am a consulting man now, but I used to have rooms in Hallenstein's Buildings.

You have been in the British Hotel lately? - Yes, a good deal; quite a lot of times.

Yes, and it is only the other day that you and a man who was under the influence of drink were ordered out of the I hotel by Mr. Overton?

Witness gave this an emphatic denial.

You spend most of your time in the I British Hotel, Doctor? — No

Did not Mr. Overton object to the man being left lying on a narrow seat, and tell you to take him upstairs where his head could be bathed, and didn't you tell the licensee to mind his own business? — No, I did not tell him that.

Who was the injured man? — Captain Close. I think.

And isn't Captain Close the man who was ordered out of the hotel with you the other day? — I don't know.

You clenched your fist, and threatened Mr. Overton, didn't you? — No.

Now, Doctor, this is not the first time you have been in court? — What has this got to do with the case?

You will see it has a lot to do with it. Were you not prosecuted at Hamilton for theft of a walking stick, shoes, and an overcoat? — Yes.

You wandered away from Auckland and returned to Hamilton, much affected by drink and drugs?— That's a lie, a ___ lie.

Were you ever up before the court on a charge of attempted suicide? — l do not remember that.

Were you before the Court in Christchurch? — Yes, for overdrawing my bank account.

And for issuing a valueless cheque? — The money has since been paid.

You went to the police about this I matter, and they told you they could not take the case up? — They told me to go to the Court.

Mr Blakey: Tell the Court. Doctor the full circumstances of the Hamilton case

Mr. Poynton: Oh, he does not need to go into that, I think I remember the case.

Witness: I lost my memory, sir, for a time.

Mr. Poynton: Yes, that's all right, there is no need to go into that.

For the Defence.

For the defence Mr Singer stated that Dr Redpath, Ingleby and the man named Close had been lounging about the British Hotel for some time, and their custom was not desired by the licensee. Defendant did not tell informant that he would have to take the injured man away. He told him to take him upstairs, where he could be bathed but Dr. Redpath said, "Mind your own business" and lifted his fist in a threatening attitude. Mr. Overton then took Dr. Redpath by the wrist and put him out of the door on to the footpath. Later the defendant, assisted by a porter, took the injured man upstairs, bathed his head, and he afterwards walked away. The man was not badly injured, for he only received a scratch.

The licensee, in evidence, stated that Ingleby, Dr. Redpath and Close were nuisances about his hotel.

Mr. Blakey: What was your object in putting Dr. Redpath out? — Because he obstructed me from seeing that the man was shifted upstairs, where he could be properly treated.

Did you really order informant out on two previous occasions?— Yes, I did. He has been about the hotel borrowing money — 3d, 6d. or a, shilling. He borrowed 2/6 from me but I got it back. He is a pest about the hotel.

James Leaherty and Alexander Harris then gave evidence, stating that they heard informant tell defendant to mind his own business when Mr. Overton asked him to take the man upstairs. They also saw Redpath lift his fist in a threatening attitude to the licensee.

Mr. Singer then submitted that there was no case for the defendant to answer.

Mr. Poynton: No the weight of evidence is in favour of defendant. The case will be dismissed. Costs £4 13/- were allowed.

Evening Post

25 September 1926, Page 15



AUCKLAND, 24th Sept.

A medical practitioner, Dr. George Redpath (35), appeared for sentence on a charge of obtaining 10s, with intent to defraud, from Henry Hamon by falsely representing that a gramophone was his property, and unencumbered.

Senior-Detective Hammond said the accused was a doctor who had been practising at Henderson, but had fallen through drink. He had been in trouble previously for a similar offence. There was some talk of his intending to go to Canada. "If the accused could get away to a fresh country we would help him along the road," added Detective Hammond.

Mr. Schramm, who appeared for Redpath, showed that the accused suffered greatly from shell-shock. He had served on four fronts during the war, in Belgium, France, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, and had been "blown up" during an air raid in England. He had been a brilliant man at his profession. Probably if Redpath was prohibited it would assist him.

Mr. E. C. Cutten, S.M.: "Do you object to a prohibition order being issued?"—" That won't make much difference, sir, I think."

Mr. Cutten: "Oh, well, it does not really matter. I can issue an order without your consent. You will be convicted and prohibited, and will also be ordered to come up for sentence within six months."