Captain William Stobie, O.B.E., M.D., F.R.C.P.
From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose M.C. (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)
Regina dug-out deserves a paragraph to itself. This unsavoury residence housed two platoons of D Company, Company Headquarters, and Stobie, our doctor, with the Regimental Aid Post. In construction the dug-out, which indeed was typical of many, was a corridor with wings opening off, about 40 feet deep and some 30 yards long, with 4 entrances, on each of which stood double sentries day and night. Garbage and all the putrefying matter which had accumulated underfoot during German occupation and which it did not repay to disturb for fear of a worse thing, rendered vile the atmosphere within. Old German socks and shirts, used and half-used beer bottles, sacks of sprouting and rotting onions, vied with mud to cover the floor. A suspicion of other remains was not absent.
Our doctor, Stobie, and with him Arrowsmith had a bitter experience of German shells. One fine summer morning the enemy commenced a programme of destructive fire upon some empty gun-pits where the Doctor had his dressing-station. Stobie and Arrowsmith, with their personnel, received a high explosive notice to quit, and their descent into a wrong-facing shaft was next followed by the partial destruction or their only exit. They escaped safely and arrived in a state of pardonable excitement at the deep cave under Les Fosses Farm, where my Company Headquarters and many others were.
26th March 1918
Colonel Lawson, guarded the right. At 11 a.m. on March 25 the enemy attacked. As often during these days, when a line was held solidly in one place, it broke elsewhere. By noon the enemy had captured Nesle, and the left flank of the Brigade was turned. During the fight Colonel Wetherall was wounded in the neck by a piece of shell and owed his life to the Brigade Major, Howitt, who held the arteries.
The line was driven back to Billancourt and the same night (25th) the remnants of the XVIII Corps withdrew in darkness to Roye, a town where our hospitals were still at work, evacuating as fast as possible the streams of wounded from the battle. One of the last patients to leave by train was Wetherall, who at this crisis passed under the care of Stobie, the Oxfords’ old M.O.
SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 27 APRIL, 1921
1st S. Mid. Fd. Amb. To be temp. Lt.-Col. :— William Stobie, O.B.E. 13 Apr. 1921
William Stobie (1886–1957) was born in Edinburgh, the son of William Stobie. He was educated at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh, where he qualified as a doctor.
Stobie married Irene Beatrice Taylor of Shelsley Walsh near Worcester in 1914, and their son William Douglas Kerr Stobie was born in 1920.
During the First World War Stobie served as Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Belgium, and was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Defence Force in 1919.
When the 40-bed Osler Pavilion for tuberculosis patients in Headington opened in 1927, Stobie was appointed assistant physician and in practice was in full charge from the start. He lived at Craigmillar, 382 Banbury Road.
In 1934 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and appointed Consultant in Tuberculosis to the City and County. He was also appointed Physician at the Oxford Eye Hospital. He was a Fellow of Exeter College and lectured on Respiratory Diseases and Medical Ophthalmology at the University.
iN 1930 Stobie was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1930/1), and was influential in appointing Dr Williams as medical officer of health for Oxford and Dr Charles Hill (later Lord Hill)
Stobie was an Alderman from 1931 to 1934 and also served a term as Sheriff of Oxford. He retired in 1952, and died in 1957.
Oxford Times, 13 July 1951, p. 8 (retirement)
Oxford Times, 8 March 1957, p. 6 (obituary and funeral)
A. H. T. Robb-Smith, A Short History of the Radcliffe Infirmary (United Oxford Hospitals, 1970), pp. 146–7
Who’s Who in Oxfordshire, p. 346
From The British Medical Journal, March 9, 1957
WILLIAM STOBIE, O.B.E., M.D., F.R.C.P.
The sudden death of Dr. William Stobie at the age of 70 has removed from the life of Oxford an outstanding civic figure as well as one of its best-known medical practitioners. William Stobie was born at Edinburgh on May 2, 1886, and was educated at George Watson’s College and at Edinburgh University, where he graduated M.B., Ch.B.in 1908. In the following year he came toOxford as house-physician to Sir William Osler,and ever since that time was closely connected with the Radcliffe Infirmary. From 1910 until he joined the Army he was medical officer to the Oxford Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis. During the first world war he served in the R.A.M.C. as medical officer to the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; he was twice mentioned in dispatches and was appointed O.B.E.in1919. After the war he returned to his medical work in Oxford, proceeding to the M.D. of Edinburgh in 1921 and becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London in the following year. In 1926 he was appointed physician to the Osler Pavilion and in 1934 consultant for tuberculosis to Oxford City and Oxfordshire County. It was in this latter year that he was elected F.R.C.P. With the coming of the National Health Service in 1948 he was appointed consultant in diseases of the chest to the United Oxford Hospitals and clinical lecturer in the University of Oxford. A member of the British Medical Association for some 40 years, Stobie was honorary secretary of the Oxford Division from 1923 to 1928 and of the Oxford and Reading Branch from 1924 to 1926; chairman of the Oxford Division in 1935-6 and again from 1940 to 1942; and president of the Berks, Bucks, and Oxford Branch in 1938-9. At Headquarters he as a member of the council from 1933 to 1935, and served on a number of committees, including that on medical education (1933-35). At the Annual Meeting of the the B.MA. in 1936 at Oxford he held office as president of the Section of Tuberculosis.
In addition to his medical work Dr. Stobie was keenly interested in municipal affairs, becoming a councillor and subsequently an alderman on the Oxford City Council. He was appointed sheriff in 1927 and elected mayor in 1930. He was also a magistrate and former chairman of the Oxford bench. Keenly interested in Rugby football he beame a very active supporter of the game in Oxford, and was very proud of being the father of two Oxford University rugged blues. In his student days he played golf for Edinburgh University.
Dr. Stobie’s work for the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis will be long remembered with ratitude, and his civic commitments showed what an active and full life he led in Oxford, whee he will be greatly missed. Our sympathy is extended to his widow and smily. — W. S .H.