Lives of the fellows

Alfred George Emslie

b.14 April 1907 d.8 May 1990
TD(948) MB ChB Aber(1929) MD(1933) DPH(1933) MRCP(1956) FRCP(1969)

Alfred Emslie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of John Emslie, a wine and spirit merchant, and his wife Margaret Jane, daughter of John Simpson, merchant. His early education was at Aberdeen Grammar School and from there he entered Aberdeen University to study medicine, his clinical studies being undertaken at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. He graduated with distinction and honours and after spending a year as a house physician at the Infirmary he was appointed a research student under J J R Macleod [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.259], his subject being ‘Carbohydrate metabolism’.

He then spent a year as assistant in the department of medicine, under L S P Davidson, later Sir Stanley [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.136], and for part of that time he was in sole charge of the biochemistry department during the illness of A Lyall, the biochemist. He served in the Territorial Army, being commissioned as a lieutenant in 1931 and attached to the 5th/7th Gordon Highlanders.

In 1932 he was appointed resident medical officer at the Aberdeen City Hospital for Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Tuberculosis where he conducted research on tuberculous bacillaemia and read a paper on the subject at the invitation of the Tuberculosis Society of Scotland, which was followed by publication in the Edinburgh Medical Journal. He obtained his doctorate, with commendation, in 1933, taking his DPH in the same year. In 1935 he went to Eastbourne as a locum for R Howie, a general practitioner, and was soon offered a partnership in the practice. He was appointed assistant physician at the Princess Alice Memorial Hospital in 1937, where he started the electrocardiography department in 1946.

As a captain in the RAMC (Territorial) he was mobilized in 1939 and appointed lecturer and instructor to the Army School of Hygiene, Aldershot, in 1941. From 1942-44 he served as a medical specialist in this country, and from 1944-46 in India as officer in command of a medical division with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His outstanding military service was recognized by the award of the Territorial Decoration in 1948.

Back in Eastbourne, he was elected president of the Medical Society in 1949 and chairman of the Eastbourne Division of the BMA in 1950. From 1951-57 he served as a member of the Eastbourne Hospital management committee, and was chairman of the pharmaceutical committee. One of his principal interests was the treatment of diabetes; he formed the Eastbourne and District Diabetic Club and was its very active chairman from 1955. The Royal Society of Medicine elected him a vice-president of the section of medicine, and its editorial representative.

Alfred Emslie was a man of commanding presence and exceptional ability. His integrity and strength of character were combined with an unfailing kindess to both patients and colleagues. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Eastbourne and of the Glyndebourne Opera Society. He had married Alfreda (Freda) Helen Welsh in 1936 and they had a daughter and two sons. He was devoted to his family and enjoyed nothing better than fishing in the rivers and lochs of Scotland. His other interests were swimming, fencing, golf and photography. He died at Eastbourne. His wife and children all survived him.

J C Linley-Adams

[Brit.med.J., 1990,300,1581]

(Volume IX, page 154)

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