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John Primrose Douglas



John Primrose Douglas was born in Perth on 22 February 1908. Educated at Perth Academy and St. Andrew’s University, he gained the M.B. and Ch.B. in 1930.


He was commissioned a Lieutenant in the R.A.M.C. in April 1933 and was promoted to Captain in May 1934. His first posting overseas was to Gibraltar, 1934-39, during the time of the Spanish Civil War. In May/June 1937 he assisted in treating two batches of naval casualties which were evacuated to the Military Hospital - one batch was from the German armoured ship Deutschland that had been attacked by Spanish Republican aircraft, and which had made for Gibraltar as the nearest specialist treatment centre. For his work with both casualty groups, Captain Douglas was awarded the M.B.E. (1938 Birthday Honours) and the German Red Cross Order.


On the outbreak of the Second World War he was sent to France with the B.E.F., 1939-40. He then served at the War Office, 1940-44, as liaison officer in the Army Directorate with the Allied Forces and was then A.D.M.S. then D.D.M.S. H.Q. 21 Army Group, 1944-46. By the war’s end he had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Brigadier. His administrative work with the allies brought him a clutch of awards from the U.S.A., Czechoslovakia, Netherlands and Belgium, including Knight Commander of the Oranje Order Nassau with Swords (15th October 1945), and in addition he was awarded the O.B.E.


After the war he was sent to Egypt as D.D.M.S. G.H.Q. M.E.L.F., 1946-49. He was then C.O. of the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, 1950. He then served at the War Office as A.D.G.A.M.S., 1950-53; then in Norway as Chief of the Medical Section in the Logistics Division H.Q. of Allied Forces Northern Europe, 1954-56.

Promoted to Colonel in April 1956, he was A.D.G.A.M.S. War Office, 1956-57 and seconded to N.A.T.O., 1957-58. Then with the B.A.O.R. he was C.O. of the B.M.H. Iserlohn, 1959-61 and was then appointed Inspector of Training, Army Medical Services, 1961-63. Back with the B.A.O.R. he was D.D.M.S. H.Q. 1 British Corps, 1963-64, then D.D.G.A.M.S. at the M.O.D. from 1964.


Promoted to Brigadier in May 1961, he was advanced to Major-General in August 1965. In 1965 he was appointed Honorary Surgeon to the Queen and in 1968 was awarded the C.B. He died on 4 September 1975.

His medals sold at auction for for £2,300 in March 2007 with an original award document for the German Red Cross Order; also a fragile copy of the Hamburger Tageblatt Weltpost newspaper, 21 June 1937; together with copied research on the ‘Deutschland’ incident, the award and the recipient.

  • The Most Honourable Order of The Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel;
  • The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 2nd type breast badge, silver-gilt;
  • The Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Commander’s neck badge, silver base metal and enamel;
  • 1939-45 Star;
  • France and Germany Star;
  • Defence and War Medals;
  • Germany, Third Reich, Red Cross Order, 1937 issue, Merit Cross, gilt metal and enamel pin-backed badge;
  • U.S.A., Legion of Merit, Legionnaire’s breast badge, gilt metal and enamel;
  • Netherlands, Order of Orange-Nassau, Commander’s neck badge with swords, silver-gilt and enamel, minor enamel damage;
  • Czechoslovakia, Order of the White Lion, 5th Class breast badge with swords, silver, silver-gilt and enamel;
  • Belgium, Order of Leopold I, Commander’s neck badge with swords, gold and enamel,

  • Note: 'all unnamed, good very fine and better'

     He died in 1975, survived by his wife.

    Major-General, British Army, O.B.E, M.B.,Ch.B.  late R.A.M.C. (58983)

    1944 - 1946 Deputy Director Medical Services ?, North-West Europe (Temporary Colonel, 1945)
    1948            Lt Colonel
    1961 - 1963 Inspector of Medical Services, Ministry of Defence
    1963 - 1964 Deputy Director Medical Services I Corps
    1964 - 1968 Deputy Director-General of Army Medical Services, Ministry of Defence
    1965 - 1968 Honorary Surgeon to the Queen
    1968           Retired



    •  58983 Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Temporary Colonel John Primrose Douglas, of Headquarters 21 Army Group Royal Army Medical Corps in Netherlands Awarded Knight Commander of the Order of Oranje Nassau with Swords
    15 October 1945


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