Date posted: 19 December 2019, 1:56pm

William Stuart Collis, Captain 1904

William Stuart Collis

In the 1901 Census William registered as a Solicitor in practice. He lived a few doors down from our Past President E. P. Stewart.

Census of Ireland, 1901

William Stewart Collis achieved one international cap for Rugby Union. William played his only game for Ireland against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park on 12.04.1884 He was Ireland Cap no. 118.

His twin son William Robert Fitzgerald Collis was capped many times in the 1920’s

Recorded in the 1901 census were his twin sons at one year old who interestingly became quite famous.
Twins - John Barton Stewart Collis and William Robert Fitzgerald Collis

John Stewart Collis

John Stewart Collis

John Stewart Collis, (1900–84), writer and naturalist, was born 16 February 1900 in Kilmore, Killiney, Co Dublin, one of twin sons (his twin was Robert Collis (qv)) of William Stewart Collis, a solicitor in the Dublin firm of Collis & Ward, and Edith Lilla Collis (née Barton); Maurice Collis (qv) was his elder brother. His early years were blighted by what he regarded as the marked preference his mother showed for Robert. Educated at Aravon School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and Rugby School, in 1918 he joined the British army, and, though he saw no active service in the first world war, when hostilities ended he was discharged as an honorary lieutenant of the Irish guards. He passed the TCD entrance examination but on his father's advice went instead to Balliol College, Oxford, where he became an active and popular speaker at the Oxford Union. He rejected offers to enter politics, and after graduating BA in 1923 he entered theological college, only to leave after one term to take up a career as a writer. He subsequently took little interest in religion.


William Robert Fitzgerald Collis

William Robert Fitzgerald Collis

William Robert Fitzgerald Collis (1900–1975) was an Irish doctor and writer. As an author he was known as Robert Collis. As a doctor, he was commonly known as Dr Bob Collis. 

William joined the British Army in 1918 as a cadet but resigned a year later to study medicine. He was appointed Director of the Department of Paediatrics at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and in 1932 physician to the National Children's Hospital, Harcourt Street. He developed neo-natal services at the Rotunda, particularly for premature babies.

He worked for the Red Cross in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation by Allied troops. He was instrumental in bringing five orphaned children from the camp to Ireland in 1947, and adopted two of them. He met a Dutch nurse in Bergen Belsen, Han Hogerzeil, whom he later married, after divorcing his first wife. His mother, Edith Barton was the daughter of John Barton, MD of Dublin, Surgeon to the Adelaide Hospital, Dublin, and President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. His grandfather, Maurice Henry Collis was Surgeon to the Meath Hospital, Dublin. His two brothers, Maurice and John, were both well known writers.
Collis was educated at Aravon School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, and at Rugby School. He went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, and spent some of his undergraduate terms at Yale. He then entered King’s College Hospital Medical School.

He was involved in establishing Cerebral Palsy Ireland. One of his first patients was Christy Brown, a cerebral palsy patient who later became a notable author himself.

William acted as authorial mentor to the disabled Dublin writer Christy Brown, for whose acclaimed book ‘My Left Foot’ he wrote the Forward.

Dr Robert Collis. Born 1900, the well known Pediatrician, writer and Rugby International, lived in Kilmore. His play “Marrowbone Lane” drew attention to slum conditions in Dublin.


Research by Gordon Horsfield


1. Granite Hill Book about Killiney

2. Census of Ireland 1901