Lives of the fellows

James Victor Wilson

b.14 November 1909 d.9 May 1982
TD(1948) MB ChB BAO Belf(1933) MD(1937) MRCP(1944) FRCP(1962) FRCPath(1964)

Jim Wilson was a twin son of Samuel Wilson, a headmaster, and Sarah Margaret (née Thompson). He was educated at the Royal School, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, where he played rugby for the school and was also in the athletics team. He proceeded to Queen’s University, Belfast, to read medicine, and while there he was awarded a university Blue for athletics, and was captain of the athletics club.

After qualification, he held the posts of resident house physician and resident house surgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. He then became house physician at the Northern Hospital, Liverpool. It was at this stage that he developed an interest in pathology and became resident biochemist and later assistant pathologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. In 1937 he joined Sinclair Miller at the Yorkshire Clinical Laboratories in Harrogate; this was a private pathological service which covered a very large area of Yorkshire, and here he extended his particular interests in haematology and diabetes as well as in genetics.

At the outbreak of the second world war he was medical officer to the West Yorkshire Regiment, but in December 1939 he was posted to Malta where he developed a blood transfusion service on the island, as well as being DADP until 1942. From 1942 to 1944 he was pathologist to the Palestine Command, holding the rank of major, and from 1944 to 1946 he was associate professor of pathology at the University of Alexandria in Egypt. It was while he was in the Middle East that he wrote a book, as well as several articles, on the pathology of traumatic injury and also on blast injuries.

On his return to England in 1946 he was appointed consultant pathologist to the Harrogate General Hospital, where he developed a first class department with an excellent reputation for its up-to-date facilities.

Jim Wilson was a forward looking man of considerable ability and energy. He was a founder member of the College of Pathologists and he was the medical representative on the planning committee for the building of the new District Hospital in Harrogate. He served on many hospital committees in Harrogate, being chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee as well as a member of the Hospital Management Committee and the Harrogate Hospital House Committee. He was a prime mover in the planning of the Nuffield Nursing Home in Harrogate in 1960, and was a president of the Harrogate Medical Society.

He was a man of many interests outside medicine; he read widely and this was reflected in the extensive library which he had in his own home. He had a profound knowledge of poetry, literature and history, and his ability to quote from these sources often surprised people who did not know him well. He had an active mind and to be in his company was a stimulating experience, and his keen sense of humour was always refreshing. Jim Wilson was an active worker in Christ Church, Harrogate, where he was churchwarden and for many years served on the parochial church council; he also took an active interest in the care of the elderly in Harrogate and helped to form the ‘61 Club'.He was president of the Harrogate Rotary Club and a past master of Doric Lodge in Harrogate, and also reached provincial rank. He was an enthusiastic golfer and served on the Harrogate Golf Club committee but would, however, never play golf on Sundays, which he felt was a day which should be spent with his family and in his church activities.‘ JV’ was a friendly and warm, but in many ways, a shy man. On his retirement from hospital practice in 1975 he went to live in Malta, and he was greatly missed by his friends and colleagues in Harrogate, but he and his wife did later return to live in this country in Berkshire, for the last few years of his life.

In 1944 he married Barbara Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Alborn Clapham of Keighley, herself a doctor and graduate of Leeds University, and they had three sons and one daughter, all of whom survived him.

WS Suffern

(Volume VII, page 614)

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