b.1797 d.10 July 1864
MA Aberd(1814) MD FRCS FRCP(1859)
James Bird entered King’s College, Aberdeen, in 1810. Two years later, he began an apprenticeship with an uncle in Elgin and soon afterwards enrolled as a student at Aberdeen Infirmary. He took his M.A. degree in 1814, and in 1815 continued his studies at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospitals in London. He qualified in 1816 and, after another two years, enlisted in the East India Company’s service as an assistant surgeon. He rose to be physician-general to the Bombay Army in 1847, having seen active service in Bengal in 1819, in the Kaira campaign, and at the capture of Kittur in 1827, and having held, amongst others, the posts of residency surgeon at Saltara, surgeon to the European and Native Hospitals at Bombay, and surgeon of an army division. A man of wide interests and great energy, he published a translation of a Persian history of Gujerat and researches into the Buddhist and Jain religions. He interrupted a voyage home in 1832 to tour Middle Eastern countries, and, in England in 1834, gave evidence before a Parliamentary Committee on communications with India.
His retirement from India in 1847 signified the opening of a new phase of activity for Bird. He became lecturer on military surgery and tropical medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital and an office-holder of various societies, being Lettsomian Lecturer in 1862, and was generally regarded as an authority on military medicine and public hygiene, on which he wrote extensively. Bird was married and left two children. He died at Gerrard’s Cross.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1864; Roll of I.M.S., 430; Plarr, iI, 100]
(Volume IV, page 101)
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