Surgeon Winifred Margaret Ross

Biography of Surgeon Winifred Margaret Ross

Winifred Margaret Ross was born on 5th August 1885 in Polmont, Stirlingshire. Her father, William, was a clergyman. Winifred was eighteen when she began her medical studies at Queen Margaret College in 1903. The family lived close by the University, at St. Mary’s Manse, Partickhill. Winifred seemed to take her medical studies in her stride, although it was a challenging environment. It was less than a decade previously, in 1894, that the university had begun to confer degrees on women and the first woman doctor, Marion Gilchrist, had graduated.

Queen Margaret College was a separate women’s department and not necessarily an equal one in every respect. Numbers were growing, however, and by 1907-1908, of the 631 women students at Glasgow, 60 were students of Medicine. Winifred did well. Her name appeared frequently on the prize list. One curiosity is that, despite gaining the Medal in the Practice of Medicine in her graduating year, she failed this subject in her Finals in March 1909 and had to re-sit it, which was quite at odds with her records. She had also been the medallist in Physiology in second year. In addition, she had a long list of second class certificates, in Physics and Chemistry in her first year, Anatomy in both junior and senior classes, Botany, Practical Physiology, and in the class of Medical Jurisprudence and Public Health. In Midwifery, she attained a first class certificate. She graduated MB ChB in 1909.

After graduation, Winifred was a resident surgeon in Paisley Parochial Hospital, and, unusually, treated male patients. She was one of the original group of young women medics who set up the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont at the beginning of the Great War, and she became a mainstay of the place. She was a great team-player, and formed lifelong friendships with her colleagues there. At home on a short period of leave she was interviewed by the Scottish Women’s Hospital Committee at headquarters, and described Royaumont as a 'perfect paradise' compared to similar institutions at home.

Winifred Ross came home to her family at St Mary’s Manse at Partickhill when the war ended. Then she moved north, to the Manse at Abernethy, Nethy Bridge, continuing her medical career. She was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services and lived for more than twenty years at Auchendeen, Dulnain Bridge, Inverness-shire. She died at Granton-on-Spey, the date unrecorded in General Council records.


Surgeon Winifred Margaret Ross
Rank: Surgeon
Regiment: Scottish Womens Hospital - France
Degree: MB ChB
Awards: N/A
Comments: N/A
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: N/A


University of Glasgow Registry, Faculty and General Council Records

Eileen Crofton, The Women of Royaumont: A Scottish Women’s Hospital on the Western Front (East Linton: Tuckwell, 1997) pp16,45

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