Adrian Johannes van der Spuy

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.


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

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