S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Tomory, Dr David Morice (public health)

Born: 23 October 1863, Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey.
Died: 1934, Place not known.

David Morice (sometimes Morris) Tomory, medical officer, was the son of Reverend Alex Tomory of the Scottish Church, Constantinople. He qualified as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master of Surgery (CM) at the University of Aberdeen in 1890 and also obtained the Diploma in Public Health (DPH) there. His education also took him to London and Berlin. In 1893 he came to the Orange Free State (now the Free State), where he was licensed to practice on 24 March. The next year he applied for the post of medical officer of health of the Cape Colony, but was unsuccessful as Dr George Turner* was appointed.

In 1896 Tomory married Kate Jones of Basutoland (now Lesotho), with whom he had one daughter. Two years later he was appointed as medical officer in the Basutoland civil service. In 1900-1901, during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), he was medical officer in charge of Stationary Hospital, Mafeteng. In August 1901 he moved to Bloemfontein, in the newly created Orange River Colony, where he was appointed district surgeon and medical officer of the National Hospital. A few years later he was medical officer of health and district surgeon of Bloemfontein, medical officer to the police, the Leper Hospital (until 1910), and the Central Prison, and honorary medical officer to the fire brigade.

Tomory was a foundation member of the Orange River Colony Medical Society in 1902 and in April the next year presented a paper before it on leprosy. He was a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science by 1903, the year after its formation. At the association's annual congress in Bloemfontein in 1909 he presented a paper on "Modern methods of water purification", which was published in the associarion's Report for that year (pp. 323-348). During World War I (1914-1918) he served in England (1914), France (1915) and East Africa (1916-1917) as a major in the South African Medical Corps and subsequently reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In recognition of his war service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in January 1918. He was still practising in Bloemfontein in 1926, probably in partnership with his daughter Louise, and still served as medical officer of health and district surgeon at this time.


List of sources:
Creagh, O'M. and Humphris, E.M. The Distinguished Service Order, 1886-1923. London: J.B. Hayward, 1978.

General directory of South Africa (Bloemfontein), 1908, 1911, 1916.

Laidler, P.W. & Gelfand, M. South Africa: Its medical history, 1652-1898. Cape Town: Struik, 1971.

Medical, dental and pharmacy directory of South Africa, 1926/7.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Tomory, David Morice / Tomory, David Morris / Tomory, D.M. / Dr Tomory.

Orange River Colony. Civil service list, 1910.

Pietermaritzburg Archive Depository, Vol. NMC 34: Medical practitioners, dentists, chemists and druggists... [practising in the Orange Free State, 31 December 1916].

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1903, 1905/6, 1909, 1910.

South African who's who, 1908, 1923/4, 1927/8.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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