Biography of James Gray Duncanson
James Gray Duncanson was born in 1871, the younger son of Reverend Peter Duncanson. He was educated at Hamilton, and the Glasgow Academy and he studied medicine at the University of Glasgow between 1887-1891, receiving a commendation for the MB CM in 1891, when he was 20, and graduating in 1892. In his first session he took classes in Junior Anatomy, Systematic Chemistry and Zoology. Between 1888-1889 he studied Senior Anatomy, Practical Chemistry, Botany, Practical Botany, Surgery, Clinical Surgery and Institutes of Medicine. He then went on to take classes in Senior Anatomy, Practical Physiology, Materia Medica, Practical Pharmacy, Practice of Medicine and Clinical Medicine. In 1890-1891 he studied Surgery, Operative Surgery, Clinical Surgery, Midwifery, Practice of Medicine, Clinical Medicine and Forensic Medicine. In his final year he took classes in Operative Surgery, Clinical Surgery and Diseases of Women.
He gained a number of awards: a high commendation in Clinical Surgery, 1888-1889; a second class merit certificate in Therapeutics and Materia Medica, 1889-1890; a second class distinction in Clinical Medicine, 1890-1891; a second class merit certificate in Lectures (partly clinical) on the Diseases of Women, summer session 1891; a high commendation in the Surgery Class, session 1890-1891; a certificate for reporting cases connected with the class, Clinical Surgery Class, session 1891.
Duncanson first worked as surgeon for the City Lines SS company, then acted as assistant to Dr Gowans in South Shields where he also acted as an assistant medical officer on the HMS Wellesley Tyne training ship for boys. On returning to Glasgow he was appointed senior assistant resident medical officer in the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow in 1893 and also acted as medical superintendent for one month. He then paid an extensive visit to the east and in 1894 joined his elder brother, Dr J C Duncanson carrying on a large general practice in the Woolwich, Shooter's Hill and Blackheath district, London. He was also medical advisor to the Borough Council, Woolwich.
At the outbreak of the First World War, in 1914, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, whereupon he acted as officer in charge of the medical division in the Auxiliary Hospital, Woolwich and the Royal Herbert Hospital. In France he became Registrar of the No.72 General Hospital, Deauville then rose to the rank of Major and was twice mentioned in dispatches.
From 1920 he held the appointment of regional medical officer at the Ministry of Health, which work he was carrying on at his death. Dr Duncanson had been secretary and vice-president of the Therapeutical Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, and for some years he was a member of the National Formulary Subcommittee of the Insurance Acts Committee. He was also a medical referee for the Miners' Phthisis Board Union South Africa. He died on 24 June 1933.
We hold a collection of his papers at the University Archive Services. You can see the catalogue for them here.