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Biographical entry Galloway, Sir James (1862 - 1922)

KBE (Mil) 1918; CB (Mil) 1917; MRCS Dec 12th 1889; FRCS Dec 12th 1889; MA MD Aberdeen 1892; FRCP Lond 1897; Hon LLD Aberdeen 1918.

10 October 1862
Calcutta, India
18 October 1922


Born at Calcutta on Oct 10th, 1862. His father was James Galloway, of Scots descent, his mother was Jane Hermina de Villeneuve. He was educated at the Chanonry School, Aberdeen, and afterwards at the University, graduating MA in 1883 with honours in Natural Science, taking the MB CM and the MD both with the highest honours. He passed the examinations for the Membership and Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons consecutively, not a very common feat.

On coming to England he attached himself to the London Hospital Medical School as Demonstrator of Pharmacy, and by the advice of Sir Stephen Mackenzie devoted himself to the study of diseases of the skin. He was appointed Assistant Physician and Pathologist to the Great Northern Hospital in 1890, and Physician to the Skin Department at Charing Cross Hospital in 1894, a post he held until 1914. He was elected Assistant Physician to the Hospital in 1901, becoming full Physician in 1906, retiring with the rank of Consulting Physician in 1922. He held the appointment of Consulting Physician for Skin Diseases to the Metropolitan Asylums Board; was President of the Section of Dermatology at the Birmingham Meeting of the British Medical Association in 1911, and edited the British Journal of Dermatology from 1896-1904. He was a member of the Council of the Royal College of Physicians of London from 1916-1918, was elected a Censor in 1920, and was serving as Second Censor at the time of his death in 1922.

He married in 1898 Jessie Hermina Sawers, and by her had two sons and two daughters. He died after a short illness on Oct 18th, 1922.

Galloway had much wider interests than the ordinary routine of general medicine and dermatology. He had essentially a judicial mind, which, combined with an urbane manner, much tact, and an unlimited capacity for work, made him the great administrator which he became during the War of 1914-1918. One of the first indications of this side of his character appeared when he became a member of the Advisory Board of the Army Medical Service. The Board was formed in 1902 to reorganize, in the light of experience gained in the Boer War, the scheme of education of the officers holding commissions in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The changes introduced on the recommendation of the Board fundamentally altered the character of the RAMC, and were the bases of the successful organization which proved of such great value during the Great War a few years afterwards.

When the War broke out Galloway was chiefly responsible for the foundation and successful organization of the Central Medical War Committee. From him came the proposal, at a Council Meeting of the British Medical Association in January, 1915, that a tribunal should be set up to determine what medical men should be retained for the service of the civilian population and who should be allowed to serve in the army. A war emergency committee for England and Wales was formed in July, 1915, Galloway was appointed a member, and acted with great success as a liaison officer between the Medical Department at the War Office and the British Medical Association. He was appointed Consulting Physician with the Armies in France early in 1916, serving first with the First and Second Armies, then with the Second Army alone, his rank being that of Colonel, AMS.

He was recalled at the end of 1917 to fill the important post of Chief Commissioner of Medical Services in the Ministry of National Service. In this position it fell to him to deal with the new and manifold problems connected with recruiting and conscription. For his services he was decorated CB. The Ministry of National Service began its duties on Nov 18th 1917, and Galloway drafted with much care "Instructions to Medical Boards" which determined the method of grading recruits. He introduced, too, the sectional system by which each recruit was examined by two or three medical men with a chairman who could be called in to give an opinion in cases of special difficulty. The system worked well and the recruits felt for the most part that there was no favouritism. He received from the King the newly-established Order of the British Empire, being invested KBE in the military division in 1918, whilst the University of Aberdeen honoured him with the degree of LLD.

The War being ended, Galloway at once became immersed with Sir Robert Morant in medical politics, more especially in regard to insurance and the relation of the State to general hospitals. He was Chairman of the Conferences of Representatives of the Medical Staffs of Voluntary Hospitals, and in this position rendered important services to the profession in the years 1920, 1921, and 1922.

Galloway was dignified in presence, courteous, and at the same time genial and kindly in his judgement of others. He took an immense personal interest in colleagues, students, and patients. He had a great power of expressing his opinion logically, and the moderation of his counsels at a meeting tended to produce an atmosphere of peace when feelings ran high. He was keenly interested in many subjects outside his profession, He loved the field sciences, botany, zoology, and geology. He was a good archaeologist, no mean historian of medicine, and a pianist of considerable ability. He practised at 54 Harley Street.

Galloway wrote, in addition to various papers on diseases of the skin:
The Parasitism of Protozoa in Carcinoma, being the Morton Lecture on Cancer at
the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1893. Privately printed, 8vo, illustrated, 1893.
The Story of Saint Mary Roncevall, 8vo, plates, London, 1907.
Eleanor of Castile, Queen of England, and the Monuments erected to her Memory, 4to, 9 plates and bibliography, London, 1909.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Charing Cross Hosp. Gaz., 1923, xxiii, 4, with portrait. Brit. Med. Jour., 1922, ii, 829, with portrait. Personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England