Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Watt, James Kennedy (1921 - 1979)

MRCS and FRCS 1949; BSc Glasgow 1941; MB ChB 1944; ChM 1964; FRFPS Glas 1949; FRCS Glas 1962.

30 August 1921
2 January 1979
General surgeon


James Kennedy Watt, the son of a general practitioner, was born close to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary on 30 August 1921. After education at the High School of Glasgow he went to Glasgow University where he had a distinguished undergraduate career, gaining the James Hunter Medal in pathology and graduating MB ChB with honours in 1944 when he was awarded the Brunton Memorial Prize as the most distinguished student of his year. After resident appointments at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and two years in the RAMC at home and in Austria, he returned to Glasgow to continue his training at the Royal Infirmary and at Laws Hospital while taking higher surgical qualifications, and before his appointment as consultant to Glasgow Eastern District Hospital in 1957.

James Watt was appointed consultant surgeon to Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1960. He had a wide range of skills and a keen interest in general surgery, contributing to the gastrointestinal literature and developing an early interest in vascular surgery. He continued with general surgery at the Royal Infirmary and in private practice, but gave a substantial part of his time to a productive partnership with William Reid which led on to the setting up of a peripheral vascular surgical unit at the Royal Infirmary and Belvedere Hospital. He succeeded to the administrative charge of that unit in 1975. He was possessed of a mind of outstanding clarity and was a disciplined worker and thinker who applied himself to teaching with the same thoroughness which characterised all his work. He had a great influence in the teaching of junior staff and his trainees freely acknowledged their indebtedness to him for the tuition he gave. His senior colleagues likewise had the highest regard for his surgical skill, advice and judgement.

He wrote extensively on general and vascular surgical subjects and, with W H Bain, was joint author of The essentials of cardiovascular surgery. He was also a popular leader writer and referee for a number of journals. Outside his professional work he was a keen golfer and was captain of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary Golf Club in the last year of his life. He also achieved high quality and technical excellence in his painting which he took up in later years. He was widely liked and respected as a loyal and cheerful friend, and as a talented and most industrious worker. He still had much to contribute when he died suddenly at his home on 2 January 1979, survived by his three daughters, Hazel, Shirley and Pamela.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1979, 1, 419].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England