Lives of the fellows

Ian Scoular Buchanan

b.26 June 1913 d.19 July 2003
MB BS Lond(1936) MRCS LRCP(1936) MRCP(1938) MD(1939) FRCP(1970)

Ian Buchanan was a consultant physician in Birmingham. He was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the only son of Sir John and Lady Helen. Sir John was one of those who foresaw the potential of R J Mitchell's Spitfire aircraft and pressed for its mass production. Ian was educated at the Haberdasher Askes' school, and then trained in medicine at the Westminster Hospital. He became a house physician there and, later, at the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital and the West London Hospital, Hammersmith.

He initially fancied a life at sea and joined the Blue Funnel Line, but quickly realised that the sea was not for him. Following his father's fascination with aircraft, Ian joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. During the war he served mostly in the home counties, sustaining an injury when a fragment from the only bomb to hit Uxbridge came too close for comfort. He was impressed and depressed with the bravery and sacrifice of the bomber crews. Somehow, against all the rules, he got himself smuggled on to bombers for no less than six raids over Germany.

After the war, he was a medical registrar at the Royal Free Hospital, but he eventually decided to turn his back on London. In 1947, before the advent of the NHS, he was appointed as an assistant general physician to the (then) Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham, and formed a medical firm with George Hearn [Munk's Roll, Vol. X, p.206]. The hospital still had a medical superintendent, but there was a newly-formed medical staff committee. Ian was elected as its secretary, but administration did not appeal to him.

In the 1950s, Ian set up a clinic specifically for diabetic patients and remained in sole charge of this, as well as having a heavy commitment to general medical duties, until his retirement in 1974. He then filled much of his time with painting and occasional (not spectacular) fly-fishing. However, this was insufficient for him, so he followed an Open University course to a BA. He subsequently stated that this had been more difficult than his medical examinations.

He suffered greatly but without complaint in his final months, still keeping in touch with contemporaries by telephone. He married Joan Macauley in 1945. She predeceased him. He is survived by a daughter.

R F Fletcher
W B Yeoman

(Volume XI, page 80)

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