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Biographical entry Slessor, Alexander Johnston (1912 - 1954)

MVO 1949; MRCS and FRCS 12 June 1941; FRCS Ed 1938; MB ChB Aberdeen 1935.

5 June 1912
17 October 1954
General surgeon


Born on 5 June 1912 the son of Dr T S Slessor of Inverness, he was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and University. After qualifying, he held house appointments at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and in 1938 was awarded an Arthur William Garden Fellowship of Aberdeen University to visit the Mayo Clinic, where he was at the outbreak of war in 1939. In 1941 he became acting medical superintendent and assistant surgeon at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, working with Sir James Learmonth on injuries of the peripheral nerves and blood vessels at the special unit at Gogarburn.

In 1943 he was commissioned in the RAMC as Lieutenant-Colonel, working with similar units in South Africa and India. In 1948 he was appointed assistant surgeon at the Western General, which position he held at the time of his death. He was also consulting surgeon at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for mental and nervous disorders and at the City Infectious Diseases Hospital. In 1949 he assisted Learmonth during the operation on King George VI, for which service he was awarded the MVO.

"Sandy" Slessor was a big man in physique, mind and heart. Serious with a quiet sense of fun, he was modest, courageous and dependable.

He married Dr Phyllis Davidson in 1940 who survived him with a son and two daughters.

He died in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh on 17 October 1954 aged 42.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 19 October 1954 no memoir; Brit med J 1954, 2, 1052 with portrait and appreciation by Sir John Bruce; Lancet 1954, 2, 924 with portrait and appreciations by AGRL and JL].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England