Arthur Conan Doyle, medic during the Second Anglo

Sunday, 22 May 1859

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 22 May 1859. Although Doyle is best known for his writing of the Sherlock Holmes crime novel series, he also spent time in South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War.

Doyle was a trained medical doctor, who had graduated from Edinburgh University in 1881. Thanks to his qualifications, Doyle was sent to South Africa in 1900 to serve as a medic for the British troops during the Second Anglo Boer War.

In 1902, Doyle wrote a pamphlet on the war called The War in South Africa: Its Causes and Conduct, which responded to all the charges levelled against the British for their conduct during the war. Doyle defended the British position in the pamphlet, and this work became so popular that he was knighted in October, 1902.

Doyle also wrote a book called The Great Boer War, which he compiled from information he obtained from personal interaction with both British and Boer soldiers. Although the accuracy of this work has been questioned, Doyle attempted to table all those wounded or killed in the war before he left South Africa, which no doubt serves as a valuable reference point for history researchers. 

• BBC, Historic Figures: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from BBC History, [online], Available at [Accessed: 12 May 2009]
• SherlockHolmesOnline, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Biography, from Sherlock Holmes Online, [online] Available at [Accessed: 12 May 2009]
• This Day in African History: 22 May, from, [online], Available at [Accessed: 12 May 2009]
• SACD, The Knighting of Arthur Conan Doyle, from The Chronicles of Sir Authur Conan Doyle, [online], Available at [Accessed: 12 May 2009]

Last updated : 20-May-2014

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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