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Dr Charles Edward Douglas, LL.D., M.D., F.R.C.S.ED.






Dr Charles Edward DouglasThe death at St. Andrews of Charles Edward Douglas not only deprives the Scottish profession of one of its most respected and popular senior members but also robs both the medical charities of a highly valued supporter. After qualifying M.B. at Edinburgh University in 1877 he went on to the M.D. in 1881, the F.R.C.S.Ed. in 1898, and the D.P.H. in 1894. He had been resident surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, and assistant physician at Morningside Mental Hospital.


 He volunteered with the 1st City of Edinburgh Volunteer Rifle Corps 1873-1877

An enthusiastic Volunteer, he served in the South African War and in the war of 1914-18, reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the R.A.M.C.(T.), and held the Volunteer and Territorial Decorations. He practised at Cupar in Fife for many years and was M.O.H. for the burgh.

When the British Medical Association held its Annual Meeting in Melbourne in 1935, Douglas was soon the admired doyen of the company: it was supposed that he reached the age of 80 during the outward journey, but this was clearly a mistake, as he had just not reached 88 at his death on Dec. 28, 1943. He was especially devoted to chess; and when he travelled home from Marseilles by air it was said that he spent the whole flight in the exercise of this pastime. His spare, almost shrivelled, form threw into relef the constant activity of his mind and body; and his instant popularity with both sexes and all ages was a wonderful tribute to his heart as well as to his head. Douglas was a vice-president of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. He was even more of a mainstay to Epsom College, of which he was also a vice-president, and an honorary local secretary over a period of very many years; his own subscription was kept alive for 50 years or more, and his collections from colleagues were further valuable evidence of his interest in education.

C. E. Douglas had long been a loyal B.M.A. man and did valuable work in his own neighbourhood, at the Scottish Office, and at headquarters in London. He was a member of the Central Council for 12 years, and of the Scottish Committee from 1923 to 1930 (chairman 1923-5); he represented his Division at 13 Annual Meetings of the Association, and served on the Journal Committee, the Insurance Acts Committee, the Ethical Committee, the Charities Committee, and the Parliamentary Elections Committee- taking a particularly keen and active part in the work of the last two committees through a long period of years. He was also a member of the special committee set up by the Council to inquire into the causation of puerperal morbidity and mortality. At the Edinburgh Annual Meeting in 1929 he held office as vice-president of the Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He had been president of the Fife Branch in 1914, and in recognition of his long and distinguished service he was elected a vice-president of the B.M.A. in 1936.


On his retirement in 1927, when he celebrated the jubilee of his entry into general practice, Dr. Douglas received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Edinburgh University. He then made his home at St. Andrews. where he took a deep interest in the history of the town and in the administration of St. Andrews Episcopal Church; he was also a member of the Representative Council of the Scottish Episcopal Church. When he left Cupar a public ceremony was held in his honour, at which the Lord-Lieutenant of the County, Sir Ralph Anstruther. Bt., handed him a number of gifts from his many friends in Fife.

b c1855  at Cannanore in South- India, the son of Col. Walter Douglas of the Madras Staff Corps

Married, c1880, the youngest daughter of Dr James Mackie, possibly in Cupar, Fife.

His wife died in 1939 after 57 years of married life; they were a most devoted couple, extremely happy in their home life. Of his two daughters one, Dr. Dorothy Douglas, is in medical practice in St. Andrews; the other is sub-prioress of the Convent at Bruges, so is for the time being (?1943) completely cut off from home.
Charles Edward Douglas died on 28th December 1943


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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024