A prominent eye surgeon, campaigner for safety glass, and
prime mover in the reorganisation of the Order of St John,
Sir Randal Elliott, died yesterday after a short illness.
Sir Randal, 87, was educated in Wellington, Havelock North,
Wanganui and Otago, and graduated with his medical degree in
He worked at Wellington Hospital before heading to London,
where he worked as an ophthalmic surgeon before heading back
to New Zealand.
He returned to Wellington Hospital and stayed there for more
than 30 years.
Sir Randal was also chancellor of St John and in 1987 was
made Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order, the highest honour
within St John.
It was the same honour awarded to his father, Sir James
Elliott in 1955. The honour of Bailiff Grand Cross was
limited to 21 people in the world at any one time.
St John said the death of Sir Randal would leave a great void
and his legacy was a unified national organisation running
the best ambulance service in the world with the highest
standards of first aid, patient care, training and event
During World War 2 Sir Randal served with the 1st Battalion,
Wellington Regiment, and then the Otago University Medical
Corps. He was later a medical officer with the Royal New
Zealand Air Force where he became a group captain and served
in the Pacific hot spots of Sarawak, Sabah, Malaya and
He was also chairman and president of the New Zealand Medical
Association and president of the Ophthalmological Society and
the Medico-Legal Society.
He was president of the Wellington Club and the Road Safety
Trust and played a part in making laminated windscreens
compulsory in cars and banning plate-glass or mesh-glass in
public areas because of the danger to people walking into
In 1949 he married Pauline Young, who died last year.
He was knighted in 1977.
Sir Randal is survived by seven children and 14