Generation: D

John Andrew Buchanan

Born: 1894 Died: 1974
Father: George Buchanan, I
Mother: Ann Mackay


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Doctor. M.B. 1924. Married a widow, Maisie, with one child, Ann, therefore adopted.

38, Maxwell Drive, Glasgow, S.W.1. M.B., Ch.B. Glasgow 1924

So reads "The Medical Directory". But the entry there does not state that he is an excellent host, an interesting talker, a good letter-writer, and has on his desk a pile of letters not yet answered, dating back two years (including some of mine) - and no one dare disturb that pile - and is blessed with an amiable wife, and a good-looking daughter, Ann.

Was John also named Andrew after his unfortunate Uncle Andrew? We know that John's mother Ann helped Andrew. So it is likely.

Frank Macdonald wrote: "Dr. John and his wife Maisie were examples of the greatest generosity and consideration for others. Perhaps 5 or 6 times they came to the hotel at Aberfeldy, quite unannounced, taking their place as ordinary visitors in the dining room, and paying their way. Then they would book a room in the ordinary tourist fashion and go out and about as tourists.

At night John would always insist on giving out hospitality. I seemed to be a very happy time for all. They and we has some good evenings together when work was done. Maisie had trained as a nurse in Edinburgh. She was a widow with one son, now a thoracic surgeon near Glasgow. I recall that on some of his visits to the hotel it was apparent he knew much of his Buchanan ancestry, but I cannot remember him speaking of the Mackays. It seems strange."

(Like myself, Frank does not understand why there were so few contacts with the Buchanans. Yet I have said elsewhere that the Buchanans did make positive contacts on their own initiative).

Mary Black our first cousin once removed, Knightswood, wrote: "John was a very genial young man at that time, and of course was pursuing his studies. I was very impressed with his domesticity and to this day I remember with great enjoyment devouring a dumpling he had made."

RLM has a feeling, well based indeed, that during War I the fathers of Scotland were divided into two classes, those who had sons away at the war fronts, and those whose sons were not away fighting but who were otherwise eligible for service. That may perhaps have applied in our own family to a certain degree. John was, I belive, and still is, a conscientious objector to war, and the impression left with me is that he either spent a part of the war working on a farm, or else in prison. I just do not know. Nor can I ask in the only quarters that do know. Anyway, the chap had courage, for it was harder to be an objector than to go into the services, much harder, as many examples showed.

Anyway, when the war ended he started medicine about 1919 and qualified in 1924. I have no recollection of ever seeing him at these times, of sharing classes with him - I would have heard his name called in the roll surely - or of being aware of his presence in the Student's Union, or of being attached to any political party. Nor, must it be admitted, did I ever make an effort to find out. I probably shared the prevailing prejudice then about war service.

I visited him and his wife at their pleasant house in Glasgow in 1963, 1965 and in 1967. On each occasion we were given a magnificent welcome. Jessie Petterson and Margaret will long remember that they had each two whiskies in the afternoon there.

John was, or is, a medical officer with Glasgow Corporation attached to a V.D. clinic. In addition he has a general practice around Gorbals district, not too large, for I suspect his pace is slowing now, and he is taking life more easily. He is a great talker, like his parents, brothers and sister, politically alert, and full of stories and memories. John's father was George Buchanan, of Kilberry, Argyll (not marked on my map), "a red-headed carpenter, with the gift of tongues".


Grace Rudell confirms the impression that I held that John went to prison during War I because of conscientious objections to military service. And that the treatment in prison of such men was very severe, there being several suicides.

John and his wife Maimie gave me lunch at their home last week, Thursday 25th September 1969 when I went to a function at the University of Glasgow. They are splendid hosts.

John is perhaps a slow speaker, and a persistent talker, keen on getting his ideas over to his audience. Of course, I am the opposite, up to a point! He drives rather fast in the City, but of course he knows the streets well.

John is older than me, being born in 1895.

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