Adrian Johannes van der Spuy South Africa Scotland Switzerland

Biography of Adrian Johannes van der Spuy

Adrian Johannes Van Der Spuy
Adrian Johannes Van Der Spuy

Adrian Johannes van der Spuy graduated MB ChB from the University in 1915. He was born on 17 January 1889 in Cape Town, South Africa, to a retired farmer, Lambert Petrus van der Spuy.

Van der Spuy enrolled at the University in 1910 at the age of twenty-one to study Medicine. While a student, he received numerous prizes of merit, including a first-class certificate and medal in Practical Pharmacy. The medal had the bust of Gulielmus Hunter and was engraved “Adrian J. Van Der Spuy, in Practical Pharmacy. Class (Prof. Stockman), Summer 1912.” He also earned a first-class certificate in Clinical Surgery and two commendation certificates, one in Clinical Surgery and the other in Operative Surgery. Van der Spuy graduated on 14 July 1915 with an MB ChB.

He served during World War One, and was wounded in France serving as part of the Attached South Africa Strike Command. He served with the South African Medical Corps, receiving a Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Decoration.

After demobilisation, Van der Spuy was appointed OC and Senior Medical Officer on H M Hospital Ship Cluny Castle in 1920. He went on to work at military hospitals in Pretoria and Cape Town. He was later appointed Deputy Chief Health Officer at the State Health Department in Pretoria, and promoted to Director of Defense Services on 11 October 1938.

Van der Spuy was given a King George VI’s coronation medal in 1937 for his service in the South Africa Defense Force. He was also received the Order of St John on 21 June 1940 for his medical services.

As well as co-authoring medical publications, such as Health and Hygiene, Van der Spuy was also active in the formation of the World Health Organisation in South Africa, and was Vice-President and leader of the South African Delegation at the first assembly at Geneva in 1948.


Other Online Resources

Archival Materials

  • DC225/1/13 Faculty of Medicine Final Year Dinner Book 1910-15
  • R3/1/1 General Council Register vol. III, p.39
  • SEN10/55 University Calendar 1913-14, p.575
  • SEN10/56 University Calendar 1914-15, p.579
  • SEN10/57 University Calendar 1915-16, p.622



Adrian Johannes van der Spuy
Born 17 January 1889.
GU Degree: MB ChB, 1915; Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences,
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: health officers; physicians
English snippet: Medical graduate of the University of Glasgow in 1915
Record last updated: 10th Mar 2014

Country Associations

South Africa South Africa, Cape Town
Place of Birth

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow

Switzerland Switzerland, Geneva

University Connections

University Roles