Herbert P. Veale, son of Thomas S. Veale and his wife, Mary V. Lancaster, was educated at the Diocesan College, Cape Town, and matriculated with honours through the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1881. Continuing his studies he was awarded the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, with honours in both literature and science, by the same university in 1883. He received the Porter Scholarship that year, as well as the University Scholarship in Science. Proceeding to England, he was awarded a BA degree in Natural Science by the University of Cambridge in 1886. He then studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and St George's Hospital, qualifying as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Bachelor of Surgery (Bac. Surg.) in 1889. He became a member of the British Medical Association and spent some time as house physician at the Great Northern Hospital, London, and as acting outpatient physician at the Victoria Park Hospital in the same city.
Upon returning to South Africa Veale was licensed to practice in the Cape Colony on 7 September 1889. The next year he applied for an appointment as resident surgeon at New Somerset Hospital, but apparantly without success, as he moved to the South African Republic (Transvaal) that same year. He was licensed there in October 1891 and practiced in Pretoria until at least 1926. In January 1897 he was appointed acting Medical Officer of Health, an appointment that was later confirmed. In December 1894 he became a foundation member of the South African Republic Medical Association and served on its first committee. Immediately after the Jameson Raid, on 1 January 1896, he and three other medical practitioners of Pretoria recommended that an ambulance unit be formed in the republic. In July that year the government established Het Roode Kruis (The [Transvaal] Red Cross). Veale served as its treasurer until it stopped to function during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). From 1896 he was a member of the South African Philosophical Society for a few years. When the [second] South African Medical Association was formed in 1897 he was elected a member of its provisional committee. In 1914 he was a member of the Transvaal Medical Council.
In 1898 Veale used the first X-ray machine in Pretoria, and one of the first in the country, and continued its use throughout the Anglo-Boer War (Laidler & Gelfand, 1971, p. 480). X-rays were first generated in South Africa by Charles H. Perrins* in July 1896 and by some other persons soon afterwards. The electrical engineer Robert H. Gould* experimented with the first imported X-ray machine during the first half of 1898.
In April 1900 Veale asked the government of the South African Republic to be relieved of the medical treatment of prisoner of war officers. Soon thereafter he moved to Cape Town, but in 1902 returned to Pretoria, then the capital of the newly established Transvaal Colony. He was appointed a member of the Rent Board for the Pretoria District in 1922. He also served as a member of the Board of Visitors of convict prisons and goals in the Transvaal until 1925, and as a member of the council of the Transvaal University College (later the University of Pretoria) from 1922. He was married to Jessie Duff, with whom he had three children.