Roll of Honour

Lieutenant Colonel

James Coats

MB CM

James Coats was born in 1848 to Dr. John Coats, the treasurer of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and a well-known Glasgow doctor.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

He matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1863, performing well not only in his medical courses but also in Anatomy, Botany, Zoology, and Chemistry - he amassed a large number of class prizes during his time at the University. His younger brother John Jackson joined the University in 1865, and his matriculation number for that year suggests he accompanied his younger brother to the Registrar's office to guide him through the matriculation process. His brother Walter William also attended the University of Glasgow, but only matriculated after James had graduated. In 1869 James Coats graduated MB CM.

After graduating Coats became a Resident at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where Lord Lister was then pioneering the practice of anti-septic surgery. Coats was a clinical assistant to Lister, and Coats’ obituary in the British Medical Journal notes that he ‘had many pleasant recollections of Lister.’

He joined the Army Medical Staff in 1871 as an assistant surgeon, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1896. His work took him to India, South Africa, and Scotland. On his retirement he was appointed to Ayr Barracks, and served on Ayr Town Council from 1910 to 1912. During the First World War, Coats was a member of the Medical Services and Pensions Board.

Lt. Col. James Coats died on the 11th May 1919, aged 70. His obituary in the Glasgow Medical Journal observes that ‘his alert and soldierly bearing was accompanied by a genial kindliness.’ He was survived by his son, John Humphrey James Victor Coats, also a student of the University of Glasgow.

Comments and Citations

Obit. in British Medical Journal, 1919, vol. 1, p.726

Obit. in Glasgow Medical Journal, 1919, vol. 91, p.344

Information supplied by Jan Chojecki