Lives of the fellows

Ian Gordon

b.7 May 1909 d.5 March 1992
OBE(Mil)1942 BSc MB ChB Aber(1932) MRCP(1936) FRCP(1946) FRCPE(1957)

Ian Gordon was born in the small fishing town of Buckie, Banffshire, Scotland. He was the son of a local government official, John W Gordon, and his wife Mary née Taylor, a teacher and a farmer’s daughter. Ian was educated at Buckie High School and proceeded to Aberdeen University at the age of 16, where he graduated m science and medicine. During his student days he was very popular, being active in the University OTC and exercising his not inconsiderable musical talents by playing the saxophone in the Students’ Union dance band. After graduation he held the post of house physician in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and later became house physician, then RMO and medical registrar at the Royal Chest Hospital in London. He also gained experience as house physician and medical registrar at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. He obtained his membership of the College in 1936 and, in 1937 at the early age of 28, was appointed assistant physician at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and at the Royal Aberdeen Hospital for Sick Children. He was also appointed as the first medical officer for the Student Health Service at Aberdeen University.

Ian Gordon had been commissioned in Aberdeen University OTC in 1938 and with the onset of war in 1939 he became a medical specialist with the 15th (Scottish) General Hospital, Middle East. While in Cairo he published in 1942, jointly, an account of experimental work on infective hepatitis. In 1944 he wrote an article, ‘Infective hepatitis in the Middle East Force’, which was published in the British Medical Journal and he contributed an article,‘Polymyalgia rheumatica’ to the Quarterly Journal of Medicine in 1960.

During his sojourn with the Army in the Middle East, Ian developed pulmonary tuberculosis and was invalided out to South Africa, where he made a complete recovery. There he met and married Adrianna van der Horst, also a doctor and the daughter of the professor of zoology at the University of Witwatersrand, where she studied medicine. They had four children, three sons and a daughter.

At the end of the war he returned to his appointments in Aberdeen and in 1948 he became full physician with charge of wards. He had a first class mind and an encyclopaedic knowledge of general medicine. He elected to be part-time, finding that he liked the variety and contacts of private practice - as so many of us did. He retired from his hospital and teaching duties at the age of 65 but continued for a number of years to do some private practice and also to work for the Old People’s Welfare Council. Outside medicine, he was an expert and knowledgeable salmon and trout fisherman, and he was also interested in wild flowers and photography.

G P Milne

[Brit.med.J., 1992,305,1012;Proc.Roy.Coll.Physns.Edin., V.22No.4(Oct 1992)]

(Volume IX, page 202)

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