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Sir James Pitcairn

picture of James PitcairnHe was born in Little Bedwin, Wiltshire in 1766 but later lived and was educated in London. He became house surgeon at St George's Hospital and in 1799 became Staff Surgeon to the Army in Holland. He later joined General Abercrombies' forces in Egypt. Charles Augustus West was also fighting there but there is no evidence that the men, whose children (Henry and Elizabeth) were later to marry, ever met.

In 1803 he was appointed Deputy Inspector General Of Hospitals in Ireland. The same year he married Harriett Dalbiac, by whom he had 10 children. Harriett died from cholera in 1832. He later married Emma Pocock, by whom he had 2 more children.

In 1837 he was knighted in Cork by the Lord Lieutenant Of Ireland (Lord Normanby) for his professional services. In 1847 he was appointed Director-General of the Medical department for Ireland and retired from the service in 1852. He died in Dublin in 1859 and is buried in Glaswevin Cemetry. The inscription on his memorial tablet reads:

'Sacred to the memory of Sir James Pitcairn M.D. Inspector General of Hospitals who died in Dublin the 12 day of January 1859 in the 83rd year of his age. He was beloved as a husband, a father and a friend. And having for 53 years faithfully discharged the duties of the public service he has gone down to the grave in peace and "in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to Eternal Life with Christ which is far better" Phillipians I Ch 23'

More details of his life can be found in Constance Pitcairn's 'History Of the Fife Pitcairn's'