SPITTEL, Richard Lionel. Tangalle, Sri Lanka 9.12.1881 — Colombo 3.9.1969. British Physician, Anthropologist and Author in Sri Lanka, a Pioneer of Vedda Research. Son of Dr. Frederick George Sp., of Ceylon Health Service, and Zilla Jansz. After Colombo Royal College and Ceylon Medical College trained in 1906-09 as surgeon in London. Returned to the island in 1910 and worked at Colombo General Hospital, later also as Lecturer at Ceylon Medical College, spent his holidays in fieldwork in jungles. Retired early, in 1935, but still worked as consultant surgeon. M.D. C.B.E. 1942, C.M.G. 1950. Married 1911 Claribel Frances Van Dort, two daughters.
Publications: Several novels, two collections of poems, medical books.
– Wild Ceylon: describing in particular the lives of the present day Veddas. 260 p. Colombo 1924.
– Far off things: the history, legends, peoples, including the Vedda aborigines. Jungle lore and adventure of Ceylon. 330 p. Colombo 1933.
– Savage sanctuary. 10+335 p. N.Y. 1942.
– Vanished trails: the last of the Veddas. 258 p. L. 1950.
Sources: Ph.G. Veerasingam on the history of Colombo Medical School in http://comsaa.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-10-10T23:12:00-07:00&max-results=7&reverse-paginate=true&start=3&by-date=false with a small photo; Wikipedia with some further references; books in worldcat.org.
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