Sir John Fraser (1885-1947)

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Sir John Fraser (1885-1947) was Principal of Edinburgh University from 1944 to 1947.

John Fraser was born in Tain in 1885. Following his education in Tain he studied at Edinburgh University where he undertook a course in Medicine, graduating with honours in 1907 and gaining the Class Medal in Clinical Surgery.He served as House Surgeon and Assistant Surgeon to Sir Harold Stiles, both in private practice and at Chalmers Hospital. It was his research with his mentor on bone and joint tuberculosis in children which established his surgical reputation. he succeeded Stiles as the regius Professor of Clinical Surgery in 1927.

During the First World War, Fraser served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in France, and was awarded the Military Cross after being wounded in 1916. During his subsequent career, he developed a great interest in cardiac surgery and was the first surgeon in Scotland and only the second in the British Isles to undertake ligation of a patent ductis arteriosis. He received international recognition through the fellowship of various surgical associations and was made honorary fellow of the Royal Australasian and American Colleges of Surgeons.

In 1935, he left London for Southampton and on to New York on board the RMS 'Aquitania' setting out on a world tour. He travelled overland to Los Angeles and crossed the Pacific to Honolulu, to Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. During the journey he visited hospitals and delivered lectures.

Also in 1935, Fraser was appointed surgeon to His Majesty the King in Scotland. He was made Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1937 and was created a Baronet in 1942. He succeeded Sir Thomas Henry Holland (1868-1947) as Principal of Edinburgh University in 1944, and on his untimely death he was succeeded in turn by Sir Edward Victor Appleton (1892-1965) in 1948.