by Jim McLarnon, Glasgow University’s Great War project volunteer
John Glaister Jr (1892-1971) was educated at the High School of Glasgow. After graduation, he followed his father, Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine and Public Health John Glaister Sr, to the University of Glasgow where he studied Medical Jurisprudence and Public Health. He took classes in Physics, Physiology, Anatomy, Diseases of the Eye, Medica Therapeutica and Practical Anatomy, including dissections of upper limbs, head and neck.
He was a student under his father until March 1916, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, being awarded a First Class Certificate of Merit on Forensic Medicine as an undergraduate and passing with distinction at degree stage.
Before graduation he took up responsibilities relating to the war effort, being attached to Stobhill Hospital in Springburn, Glasgow, taking administrative and medical charge of 70 beds.
On 15 May 1916 he gained a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), and was sent to training at Ripon, Yorkshire, followed by Farnley Park in Otley, Yorkshire, and latterly to Aldershot as a lecturer. During this time he qualified as Regimental Instructor in anti-gas measures. He was responsible for the administration of thousands of officers and men that passed through these training centres.
His early training at the military hospital in Glasgow and the RAMC training centres was invaluable, as he was to be posted to France, Palestine and Egypt as Medical Field Officer attached to Combatant and Field Ambulance units. He eventually had complete charge of around 600 beds at the Egyptian Stationary Hospital at Ludd, Palestine.
He was demobbed from military service on 12th August 1919 having reached the rank of Captain. While still on active service, he married Isobel Lindsay and returned home after the war to private practice. He later served as Professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Egypt at Cairo from 1928-1932, and then succeeded his father as Regius Professor of Forensic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, a post he held until 1962.
For more information about the Glaisters and the development of Forensic Medicine in Glasgow, see Crowther and White (1988), On Soul and Conscience the Medical Expert and Crime.