Port doctor at Glasgow. M.B. ChB. DPh. DPA, etc. Died Lupus Erythematosis.
Alison in Geography at Glasgow, 28 Langside Drive, Glasgow (1971). Fiona a teacher. One in Birmingham. One gone to S.A "to look for a man"!
I first met George Buchanan on a very happy occasion, the day of my own father's funeral. The old chap, my father, was at last free from pain and misery, and about to be buried in Scotland. He had died in Wolverhampton, and I was carrying out his wished by making it a good day for the relatives to meet in relaxed conditions. I was, of course, in the first carriage, and so was a handsome, talkative young man, well dressed and spoken. So I ventured to ask him his name, and "where he came in the family". (In the first coach too!). To my shame, I had now known of his existence! But we soon got down to hard facts!. He was representing his father, and I suppose his mother, both deceased.
Well, I had all the relatives (plus Mr. McLellan my father-in-law) for lunch in a private room at the Central Station Hotel in Glasgow. What a fine time we had, talking, and exchanging stories! And I saw them off at the door of the hotel in due course, as they stotted down the road to their transports (municipal and otherwise). George was there, of course. And I arranged that we should meet next day for a further talk (by George).
His talk was really the story of his life, and it was quite fascinating.
Firstly, his appearance. He was tall, good-looking, alert, "on the ball", with a pleasant Buchanan smile, enquiring by nature, competent and I should think a good ally in a scrap. His first ambition was to go to sea, and in doing this he left school too soon, without taking his "O" levels. He was in the mercantile marine for several years, and achieved an immediate and considerable accomplishment by taking his first mate's certificate, at quite an early age. This did not satisfy him, however, and his thoughts turned towards medicine. He turned to his Uncle John, the doctor, for advice. This, apparently was very discouraging, and suggested that he should keep at sea. Being a Buchanan George's resolve to be a doctor was reinforced. He damned well would!
But there was the obstacle of the University Preliminary examination, no small hazard to get over. But George settled down to classes and in due course succeeded in getting his preliminary passes. He said that previous to this, his "English had not been so good", but actually as he spoke to me, it was excellent, although no one would have mistaken him for an Englishman. He enrolled at Anderson's College of Medicine. One day, he was looking down the list of past professors of Anatomy at the College when he noticed the name George Buchanan as a onetime holder of that office. He thought, why should not I be one too! I think he got a medal or something in Anatomy, or became a demonstrator in the subject. (I'm recording a conversation which took place 26 years ago). I due course he qualified: LRCP; LRCS Ed., LRFPS Glas. 1938; and achieved another ambition.
I noticed he was wearing a beautiful gold wristlet watch. "Oh. That's from a grateful parent". And he went on - he had "saved a child's life in spite of the advice of some other specialists, etc."
He very kindly collected me the day after the funeral and took me round Loch Lomond. And told me more. A pleasant, refreshing day which showed me I was growing old, as I thought. (I was in the Middle East, in the Army, a year later!).
Then George collected the following:
Diploma of Public Health, 1942 Diploma of Public Administration, 1942 Diploma of Tropical Health and Hygiene. Ed. 1946 Bachelor of Laws, Glasgow, 1947 Diploma of Industrial Hygiene. Eng. 1947 Certificate in Tropical Medicine (?from where) and wrote some stuff about industrial hazards of Dock Labourers in 1948.
That was a breakaway from the old crofting life at Loneachuan, of his old Great-grandfather William Mackay, and probably a Buchanan gene was responsible.
Some time soon after qualifying in 1938, George had become Medical Officer to the Clyde Trust, a key post of importance which would prevent him serving in the forces in War II. In any case, the lad had done his stuff in the Merchant Navy, and would be invaluable ashore.
He has also married Myra Fullerton Ewing Neish, a young doctor who took her M.B., Ch. B. at Glasgow in 1940 and her D.P.H. in 1942. They both visited us unexpectedly after War II at Wolverhampton. It was a good visit, a longish night session, probably a little Whisky, and Myra did not say much. I think the talk was all about the Buchanans, but memory is unreliable.
I saw George again at Bill Mackay's funeral, looking well, the best dressed man among the relatives. But I did not get much chance for converse. I have twice asked him for lunch while I have been in Glasgow, but we for quite good personal reasons have not succeeded in connecting up. He has an open invitation to Wolverhampton.
I suppose George is now 54 years old, and two of a family, and will not break out again until he leaves the Clyde Trust on a good pension at 65.
And Myra. She was "doing clinics" when I last spoke to George on the telephone.
Neil would have been quite proud of his son, with good reason.
The only story I have to tell of Dr. George is from my Royal Hospital colleague, Dr. Llewellyn, who came to hold at Liverpool the corresponding medical post to George's with the Clyde Trust. They had met at a convivial conference at London, and were at an hotel while awaiting their departing trains for home. They kept on talking. Suddenly Llewellyn realised he had lost his train, and would have to stay overnight in town. He upbraided George for keeping him talking and asked if he had realised the time. George confessed he had realised the time but as he (George) would have had no one to speak to for another hour or so he had made no mention of time passing.
13th December 1968.
When I asked Gorge on the phone to come out for lunch with his uncle John and myself, either in 1965 or 1966 he sounded like a man who would live for years, very hearty. Unfortunately, he could not come, and I lunched at John's house instead. But from what I have since learned George's heartiness was now assumed. He was commencing his fatal illness, which ended on March 11th. this year. Anaemia, splenomegaly, repeated laboratory reviews, laparotomy transfusions, no very precise diagnosis. He will be greatly missed in Glasgow.