John Pole Kitson (sometimes John Pole-Kitson) qualified as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) at the University of London in 1894 and that same year was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS) and a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of London (LRCP). He was licensed to practice in the Cape Colony on 19 August 1907 and the next year was appointed customs medical officer at East London. He resigned this post in 1909 and entered into a partnership with Dr C.J. Lounds, with whom he practiced under the name Kitson & Lounds in upper Oxford Street. Soon after his arrival in the city he presented 29 Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) from East London to the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria.
Kitson was married on 4 July 1912 to Violet Alice Hermoine Featherstone. They had one son, who was named John Pole like his father. By 1915 the family resided at Post Retief, a military post some 30 km north of Fort Beaufort.