Wilson, Stanley Livingston

Date of birth:
April 17th, 1905 (Dannevirke, New Zealand)
Date of death:
June 2nd, 1990 (Dunedin, New Zealand)
New Zealander (1907-1947, Dominion UK)


Stanley Wilson was born in Dannevirke, New Zealand on 17th April 1905. He was educated at the Dannevirke Highschool. He was Captain of 1st 11 cricket, and Captain of 1st XV and DUX of school 1922. He received a N.Z. University Scholarship in 1923. While at school he represented Hawkes Bay at cricket as wicket keeper.

He entered the Otago Medical School and qualified MB, BCh in 1929. He trained in London and became FRCS in 1932. Stanley returned to Dunedin in 1935.

After the outbreak of war he was commissioned as a surgical specialist with the rank of major in the New Zealand Medical Corps. He went with the Third Echelon to Egypt arriving there in October 1940. He formed part of the Mobile Surgical Unit in June 1941. The New Zealand forces were now in the thick of the fighting in The Western Desert and between September 1941 and until the battle of the Mareth Line he was actively involved in the surgical treatment of casualties. Between February 1942 and March 1943 he was with his Mobile Surgical Unit and this unit was deployed wherever the fighting was most fierce. At the end of November 1941 his unit was overun and captured at Sidi Rezegh.

A few days later he along with some other soldiers including ,infantry Brigadier Howard Kippenberger (at that time not yet promoted from Colonel) made a daring escape. The account of this appears in 'ESCAPE' edited by Mathew Wright and published by Random House N.Z. 2006.

After the battle of El Alamein he was awarded the D.S.O. for his courage and bravery carrying out surgery under conditions of greatest danger and in so doing aleviating the suffering of many Allied wounded.

The official New Zealand war history of the North African campaign speaks often and in appreciative terms of the great contribution he and his unit made to to battle surgery. Wilson was withdrawn from the Middle East in March 1943 and became Commanding Officer of The N.Z. 2nd Casualty Clearing Station based on Guadalcanal during the fighting to retake the Solomon Islands. There he put into practice the lessons of the desert campaign.

After the war he returned to Dunedin and became active in the affairs of The Australasian College of Surgeons, serving on the Council, having become a Fellow in 1938. Later in 1961 to 1962 he was elected President of The College only the third New Zealander at that time to have achieved that high office. He served on The Otago Hospital Board for three terms from 1965 and was awarded the C.M.G. in 1966.
After the Second World War Stanley Wilson also received the Naval distinguished and Long Service Medal.

The American College of Surgeons awarded him an Honorary Fellowship to their college in San Francisco in 1963 a rare honour at that time. Subsequently his alma mater the Otago University conferred upon him a deserved Honorary Docterate of Science in the centennial year of the Otago Medical School in1975. At that ceremony his son Roger at that time president of the Otago medical School Students association was afforded the honour of carrying the ceremonial Mace to lead the procession of dignitaries at those proceedings.

Wilson retired from sugery in1982 after more than 50 years of skilled delivery of his craft. He died in Dunedin on 2nd June 1990 aged 85.

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Second World War (1939-1945)
New Zeeland Military Forces
Awarded on:
October 14th, 1943
Published in The London Gazette dated 14th October 1943.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Second World War (1939-1945)
With "8th ARMY" clasp.
Africa Star
Second World War (1939-1945)
Lt Col.
NZ Medical corp
War Service Medal 1939-1945


  • Photo 1: Sam Wilson
  • Photo: Stan Wilson
  • - Supplement to The London Gazette of tuesday 12th October 1943, Issue 36209, dated 14th October 1943
    - Memories of his son Dr. Roger Wilson E.N.T. Surgeon QLD Australia
    - The New Zealand Medical Journal no. 893 11th July Vol 103 pgs 332 - 333
    - RACS Bulletin July 1990