Dr. Charles Elliott was lovingly known as "The Doctor". His early education was in Cape Town and then he travelled to England with his brother George and studied medicine at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He became a well-known and respected surgeon and pioneered brain surgery in this country. He was also famed for completing appendix operations in 8 minutes. He was official doctor for the Customs office. He was most hospitable to travellers who called in at the Cape. He came from a well-known Cape family. His father was Sir Charles Elliott: his brother Arthur retired as Director of the Cape Education Department, his brother Frank was Surveyor General of South Africa and his brother George was Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Indian State Railways.
Dr. Elliott never married, he was looked after by a 'coloured' sister named Jane who was his housekeeper. As a brother in Christ, he was a humble, loving man. He was a man of prayer and always prayed for his patients. On one occasion he was busy doing an intricate brain operation, when there was a power failure. He fell on his knees and prayed. The lights were restored and the patient saved. Before he composed his best known hymn, "Lord Jesus Christ our Living head", he prayed for a long time. He died 8th November 1942, and was greatly mourned by all.
His hymn in 'Spiritual Songs' is no. 42.
"Lord Jesus Christ our Living Head,
How bright Thy glories shine!
Unique in Thy humanity:
This hymn is one of the best expressing the glories of the Head. It is often sung in ministry meetings and in conferences. It is well worthy of a place in 'Spiritual Songs'.