Lives of the fellows

William Robertson Gauld

b.11 November 1912 d.29 August 1995
TD(1950) MB ChB Aberd(1935) MD(1938) MRCP(1946) FRCP(1962)

William Robertson Gauld was a general physician with an interest in haematology, born, brought up and based in Aberdeen for almost all his working life. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and studied medicine at Aberdeen University, graduating in 1935. After graduation he worked for two years as an assistant medical officer at Hackney Hospital, before returning to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as a medical registrar.

As a territorial he was called up at the outbreak of the Second World War and served with the RAMC, initially as a RMO and latterly as a specialist physician. After an abortive attempt to land in Norway with a section of his unit, he spent four years in the Middle East, mainly with the Scottish general hospital in Egypt. In 1942 he married Vivian, the daughter of an Egyptian government official. They had three sons.

After demobilization he returned to his post as a medical registrar at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. In 1947 he was appointed consultant physician to the North East Scotland Regional Hospital Board and became a senior lecturer in medicine at the University of Aberdeen. He was later promoted to a readership in medicine.

He published several papers in the BMJ and The Lancet. His work was influenced by Sir Alexander Anderson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.12], Sir James Learmonth and Harold Fullerton [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VI, p. 187]. He became chairman of the Aberdeen medical staff committee, and later president of the Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society. He also served on the board of management of the Aberdeen General Hospitals.

At the height of his career Bill was telephoned one morning by the surgeon apothecary to the Royal Household, Sir George Middleton, with a request to attend the young Prince of Wales, who had been taken ill whilst camping in the grounds of Balmoral Castle. According to a close colleague of Bill’s, he replied: "Certainly, I will come in the afternoon when I have finished my out-patients." This reply clearly showed where his priorities lay, but it did not please the Royal apothecary, and his assistance was never requested again.

On retirement Bill became medical director of Roxburghe House, a terminal care unit. He also acted as editor of the Aberdeen Postgraduate Medical Bulletin for fifteen years. His chief recreation was golf, which he continued to enjoy up to within a few days of his death, caused by a massive coronary thrombosis.

David Short

[Brit.med.J., 1995, 311,1364]

(Volume X, page 160)

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