Lives of the fellows

James Graham Forbes

b.24 March 1873 d.8 April 1941
MB BCh Cantab(1898) MA MD DPH FRCP(1920)

Graham Forbes, the son of Rev. Edward Forbes, was born at Clevedon in Somerset and sent to school at Clifton. He was an undergraduate of Christ’s College, Cambridge, from 1891 to 1894 and then a medical student at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, graduating as M.B, B.Ch, in 1898. In the following decade he held a number of junior appointments, at his own Hospital, at the East London Hospital for Children, and at the Hospital for Sick Children, and assistant physicianships at the Metropolitan Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. He was for a time a civil surgeon attached to the Royal Horse Guards, and in 1902 medical officer to the Anglo-French Boundary Commission in West Africa. Pathology and the origin of children’s diseases were his main interests, and, when he became a school doctor under the L.C.C. in 1911, his talents were largely wasted until, after being in charge of the South-East Division, he was transferred to the pathological laboratory at County Hall. Here he worked on the control of infectious diseases in schools and made a name for himself as an advocate of diphtheria immunisation. He produced a special report on the latter for the Medical Research Council in 1927 and made it the subject of his Milroy Lectures to the Royal College of Physicians in 1929 ; and he later published a major monograph on it at considerable cost to himself. His other original researches were on the flora of school swimming-baths and classrooms and of the Underground railway. He served in the 1914-1918 War as pathologist and sanitary officer with the 36th General Hospital at Salonika. He was an energetic, individual worker and an outspoken critic. Forbes married in 1905 Muriel Watson, daughter of Dr. Watson Paul of Cowes, and had a son and two daughters. He died in the Kent and Sussex Hospital at Tunbridge Wells, where he had lived since retiring in 1938.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1941; B.M.J., 1941]

(Volume IV, page 570)

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