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Biographical entry Galloway, James Brown Wallace (1930 - 2005)

MRCS and FRCS 1965; MA Glasgow1950; MB ChB 1956; FRCS Edinburgh 1962; FRCS Glasgow 1962; LRCP 1965.

26 March 1930
Lanark, Lanarkshire, Scotland
11 December 2005
Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
General surgeon


James Galloway was a consultant general surgeon in Stranraer, Scotland. He was born on 26 March 1930 in Lanark, the son of William Galloway, a farmer, and Anne née Wallace, a secretary. He received his early education at Lanark Grammar, followed by McLaren High in Callendar when the family moved there after his father’s death. At an early stage he showed the academic bent that was to remain with him throughout his life. School was followed by Glasgow University, where he graduated MA before embarking on a medical degree. After gaining his MB Ch in 1956 he undertook his National Service as a captain in the RAMC, spending a large part of his time in Hong Kong.

Returning to civilian life, he opted for surgery as a career, and received his training in Glasgow. In 1966 he moved to Ballochmyle Hospital in Ayrshire. Here he made an indelible impression. He was an outstanding doctor whose interest in his subject seemed insatiable, his knowledge of it being encyclopaedic. His practical skills were also of a very high order, and he gave of himself unstintingly. He could truly be said to be dedicated to his work, and he was held in the highest regard by his medical colleagues and nursing staff alike. Though a quiet man, even self-deprecating, he had a remarkable ability to get what he wanted; where his patient’s interests were concerned he could be tenacious, to say the least, and he provided a service second to none. His interest in new developments, and his enthusiasm for new devices, were infectious. He was a most likeable colleague and he was held in considerable affection by all. His time in Hong Kong had given him a taste for travel and during the 1970s, while working in Ayrshire, he answered an advertisement placed by the Kuwait Oil Company and spent three months there as a general surgeon. His work so impressed that he was invited back for two further tours of duty.

In 1981 he was appointed consultant general surgeon at the Garrick Hospital in Stranraer. Ayrshire’s loss was Stranraer’s gain, and he quickly established himself there as he had at Ballochmyle, becoming a most valued member of the community. He believed firmly that medical services should be provided locally whenever possible, and fought hard to prevent the surgical service being transferred to Dumfries.

James’s other great love was sailing, and he had a succession of boats, starting with a 14-foot dinghy and culminating in Eliane, a very capable traditional yacht which was his pride and joy. He happily related that all his boats had one thing in common – they were so full of his beloved gadgets and equipment that they all had to have their waterlines redrawn. He was a very relaxed skipper who, though a lifelong teetotaller himself, was not in the least put out by the occasional excesses of his crew members. There can be no part of the Clyde, and few parts of the Western Isles, that he had not sailed to, and he never ceased to be glad of his origins.

After retirement in 1991 he remained as active as ever, embracing the computer age with typical enthusiasm. He was a very kindly, widely read and thoughtful man who made a most interesting companion. He took up scuba diving and continued to be a very active sailor, crossing the Minch to Eriskay in his last summer. Sadly this was to be his last cruise, and thereafter he became increasingly weak. Typically he preferred to discuss the differential diagnosis rather than to complain. He died in the Ayr Hospital on 11 December 2005.

He was predeceased by Janet and Anne, his two older sisters. He is greatly missed by his many friends.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 2006 332 492].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England