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Name: METTAM, Richard William Morison OBE

Birth Date: 19 May 1895 Glasgow

Death Date: 11 July 1951 Lanark

First Date: 1927

Last Date: 1930

Profession: Vet. Research Officer Kabete 1927; Vet. pathologist Uganda 1930; Nigeria 1937; Asst. Dir. Laby. Serv. Nigeria 1946

Area: Kabete

Married: In Pretoria, S. Africa 12 Jan 1921 Florence Adgnes 'Queenie' Harvey b. 5 Feb 1898 Cheltenham, d. 30 May 1984 Cirencester (prev. m. Albert Easton, div.)

Children: Donald Albert Richard (7 Nov 1921 Johannesburg-9 Nov 2009 Parksville, BC, Canada); dau.

Book Reference: Red 31, Hut, Colonial, Dominion

War Service: Military service 1917-19, Capt.

School: High Sch. Dublin, Windermere Grammar Sch., Royal Vet. Coll., Dublin and Univ. of Witwatersrand; MSc (zool.) (SA), MRCVS

General Information:

Dominion - Agricultural Department - Veterinary - Veterinary Research Officer - 1930
Gazette - 20/4/1927 - Arrived on 1st Appointment - Veterinary Research Officer - R.W.M. Mettam
Web - was the son of A.E. Mettam, principal of the Veterinary College at Dublin, Ireland. He qualified (MRCVS, Dublin) in July 1917 and during the last year of World War I (1914-1918) served in the Army in France, Belgium and Germany. He came to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute, South Africa, in 1919 and did some teaching in veterinary anatomy at the University College, Johannesburg (later the University of the Witwatersrand) and at the Transvaal University College, Pretoria. In 1922 he was appointed professor and head of the newly created Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of the Witwatersrand. The next year he received the MSc degree in zoology at the same university for his thesis, Snotziekte: a disease of South African cattle. His department, which was associated with the Medical School, was closed towards the end of 1924 and Mettam transferred to the Veterinary Faculty of the Transvaal University College at Onderstepoort. During 1923-1926 he published seven papers in quick succession in the South African Journal of Science, in which he described various anatomical abnormalities in the ox and horse.
Mettam left South Africa early in 1927 for Kabete, Kenya to take up an appointment as veterinary reseach officer. Early in 1930 he moved to Entebbe, Uganda, as veterinary pathologist to the Ugandan government and worked on the veterinary toxicology of East African plants. He transferred to Vom in Nigeria in September 1937. His publications during these years included the following: Poisonous plants of East Africa (1930); "Some poisonous plants of Kenya" (Veterinary Journal, 1933); "Turning sickness, a protozoan encephalitis of cattle in Uganda" (with J. Carmichael; Parasitology, 1936); "A short history of rinderpest with special reference to Africa" (Uganda Journal, 1937); and "Experiments on the transmission of Bovine Contageous Pleuro-pneumonia" (Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therepeutics, 1939). In 1950 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE), but became ill and returned to Britain, where he died soon afterwards.
Info supplied by Lindsay Frederick Braun: On page 57 (Appendix I) of the Department of Agriculture Annual Report for 1930, he is listed as a personnel transfer away from Kenya: “Mr. R. W. M. Mettam, M.Sc., M.R.C.V.S., Veterinary Officer, transferred to Uganda, 1st August.” 1928 Blue Book Richard William Morison Mettam, first date of service (same as date in that position) 19 Jan 1927, title Veterinary Research Officer, Division of Veterinary Research, Dept of Agriculture.  Uganda Protectorate Blue Book for 1937 (page 100) lists him as Senior Veterinary Research Officer (effective 30 July 1930. The note on that entry states that he transferred to Nigeria “with effect 6-10-1937.”  So in October, he went to that establishment, and disappears from East Africa.  The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria Blue Book for 1938 gives his title as “Veterinary Pathologist,” and isn’t much of a promotion in terms of salary or rank, but it seems that was his actual specialization (possibly disease aetiology based on the ovine diseases publication mentioned in 1932) as opposed to the more general work he did in Uganda and Tanganyika. 

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