S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Pye, Dr William Moss (veterinary science)

Born: 29 January 1870, Scotland.
Died: 1 February 1905, Pretoria, South Africa.

William M. Pye qualified as a veterinarian (MRCVS) in Edinburgh in June 1891. In April 1893 he was appointed veterinary assistant to the Colonial Bacteriologist, Alexander Edington*, at the Colonial Bacteriological Institute in Grahamstown. He arrived in Cape Town in June that year. Although he succeeded J.D. Borthwick*, he has been described as the first research veterinarian in southern Africa (Curson, 1932). Early in 1896 he joined E.A. Hollingham in practice in Johannesburg, where he also acted as consultant to the Sanitary Board of the city. During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) he served in the Imperial Light Horse regiment and assisted with the medical care of patients in the hospital during the siege of Ladismith. After the relief of that town he joined the Army Veterinary Department as a civil veterinary surgeon. When the war ended he returned to Johannesburg and resumed private practice. For a few months at the end of 1902 he acted as government veterinary surgeon for Johannesburg under the Glanders Law (No. 8) of 1894. In 1903 he became a member of the newly founded Transvaal Veterinary Medical Association. His death took place "under tragic circumstances" (Curson, 1932) in Pretoria early in 1905.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Civil service list, 1896.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Director of the Colonial Bacteriological Institute, 1895.

Curson, H.H. The veterinary profession in South Africa... Journal of the South African Veterinary Medical Association, 1931, Vol. 2(1), pp. 3-22; 1932, Vol. 3(2), pp. 133-137.

Curson, H.H. South African medical pioneers in veterinary science. South African Medical Journal, 25 November 1933, Vol. 7, pp. 745-751.

General directory of South Africa, 1903 (Johannesburg).

Gutsche, T. There was a man. The life and times of Sir Arnold Theiler, KCMG. Cape Town: Timmins, 1979.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 4762/53: death notice, William Moss Pye.

Posthumus, P.J. Past veterinarians in South Africa (10th edition), Vol. 2 [1992].

Compiled by: D.W. Verwoerd