Professor Sir John Marnoch

23 May 1867 - 2 February 1936

MA  Marischal College 1888
MB,CM 1891
LLD 1932
CVO 1915
KCVO 1928
Lieutenant Colonel Royal Army Medical Corps, latterly Brevet Colonel
Deputy Lieutenant for the County and City of Aberdeen (1930)
Vice President of the Section of Surgery of the British Medical Association

Eminent Scottish Surgeon and one of the first to perform extensive abdominal surgery
Emeritus Professor of Surgery University of Aberdeen
Regius Professor of Surgery 1909-32
Surgeon to His Majesty’s Household in Scotland
“Extra Surgeon” to the King in Scotland
One of the first surgeons to document surgery for gastric ulcer

John Marnoch attended the Grammar School in Old Aberdeen, went to study medicine at King's and Marischal College and graduated MA in 1888, and MB CM (with highest honours) in 1891. During the next few years, he held various resident appointments at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Royal Hospital for Sick Children and acted as assistant to Professor MacWilliam the professor of physiology. He was elected assistant surgeon to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in 1893, becoming full surgeon in charge of wards and lecturer on clinical surgery in 1900.

On the retirement of Sir Alexander Ogston from the Regius Professorship of Surgery at Aberdeen in 1909, Marnoch was appointed to the vacant chair, and occupied it until June, 1932.  On the outbreak of war Professor Marnoch joined the a' la suite of the 1st Scottish General Hospital with the rank of lieutenant-colonel R.A.M.C (T.) and was later promoted brevet-colonel in recognition of his work in the surgical wards and operating theatres. In the early weeks of the war he was chosen to perform appendicectomy upon HRH. the Duke of York, who was then serving as a midshipman on HMS Collingwood in 1916 and on 29 August 1914, went to the Northern Nursing Home, Albyn Place in Aberdeen for the operation. In the following year he was created CVO and in the Birthday Honours of 1928 he was advanced to KCVO.

Marnoch was one of the earlier British surgeons to make a special study of the operative treatment of gastric ulcer.  He was a good teacher, and his operative technique was much admired. He was a member of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, and served as examiner in surgery for the Universities of Edinburgh, Durham, and Liverpool. In December, 1931, he was appointed, in succession to Sir Ashley Mackintosh, to represent the University of Aberdeen on the General Medical Council. In 1930 he was made Deputy Lieutenant for the County and City of Aberdeen, and three years later the University conferred on him its honorary degree of LL.D.

Sir John Marnoch joined the British Medical Association in 1895, and at the Annual Meeting in Aberdeen under the presidency of Sir Alexander Ogston, just before the outbreak of war, he held office as vice-president of the Section of Surgery. He was president of the Aberdeen Branch in 1922-25.  He was a keen musician and accomplished cellist.

Image: by Walter Stoneman; bromide print, 1932; NPG x186488 © National Portrait Gallery, London (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Biography prepared from the nomination made to the University of Aberdeen 525 Alumni project.