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Biographical entry Heriot, Alexander John (1914 - 1995)

MRCS 1937; FRCS 1939; MB BS 1937; MS London 1941; FDSRCS 1976; LRCP 1937.

28 May 1914
14 March 1995
General surgeon


Alexander John Heriot was born on 28 May 1914 in London. He was the youngest of the three sons of Robert and Lillie Elizabeth Heriot. His father had been born in Edinburgh in 1878 and migrated to London to start a building and decorating business in the early 1900's. He married Lillie, a London-trained nurse, in 1902. Alexander attended Clapham Junction Infants' School and won a scholarship to Battersea Grammar School. His father died, aged 52 years, when AJ, as he was always known, was 16 years old. The business collapsed with Robert's death and Lillie was forced to let their large Victorian house as flats.

AJ trained at King's and qualified MB BS in 1937, becoming a Fellow two years later. He was house officer (medical) at King's in 1938 and also house officer (surgical) at the Royal Northern Hospital. In 1940 he married Christine Margaret Stacy, MRCOG, and they had two sons. During the years 1940 to 1945 he was registrar in general surgery at King's College Hospital, working for the Emergency Medical Service. He joined the RAMC in 1946 and served as a major in Nigeria. Whilst there he was appointed in his absence as a consultant general surgeon to King's College Hospital in 1947 and remained in that post until 1973, when he was appointed postgraduate dean to the South East Thames region.

His forte was teaching students and he reorganised the Dental Training Programme at King's College Hospital. He insisted that all surgical registrars were expected to show patients at his Saturday morning ward rounds. From 1963 to 1969 he was on the Court of Examiners and was an external examiner for the Edinburgh FRCS. In 1976 he was awarded an honorary Fellowship in dental surgery at the College. He held the post of postgraduate dean for the South East region from 1973 to 1979 and there he was a pioneer of medical audit. He was also a member of the Committee for the GP training programme in the 1970's.

His first wife, Christine, died aged 47 years in 1958. In 1959 he married Cynthia Joan Heyweson, who was also a doctor. They had one daughter and one son who both also qualified in medicine.

He died on 14 March 1995 of adenocarcinoma of the stomach.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1995 311 805; Information from his family].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England