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Sir George Ballingall


1780 - 1855

Military surgeon. Born at Forglen, northwest of Turriff in Aberdeenshire, Ballingall was educated at the Universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. At the latter institution he worked under the noted anatomist Dr. John Barclay (1758 - 1826) and gained his credentials from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1805. He joined the army as an Assistant Surgeon the following year, serving in India, Java and as part of the force which occupied Paris. He retired from the army in 1818.

Ballingall gained the Regius Chair of Military Surgery at the University of Edinburgh in 1822. He argued strongly that military surgery should be maintained as a separate discipline from other branches of surgery, with the wounds of war necessitating particular techniques. His Outlines of Military Surgery ran to five editions.

He maintained an ongoing interest in the running of the Army Medical Department and was an ardent campaigner for the pay and conditions of the army doctor. Appointed Consulting Surgeon to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, he was patronised as Surgeon to the Duke and Duchess of Kent, appointed Surgeon to the Queen and knighted in 1830 by King William IV.

The University of Edinburgh retains a collection of his papers and their Anatomy Museum includes a number of his specimens.

He died on his estate near Blairgowrie in Perthshire and the Chair of Military Surgery was abolished after his death. He is remembered through Ballingall's Disease, a complaint of the foot.


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