George Riddoch was born at Keith, Banffshire, the eldest son of George Riddoch of Rothiemay, and was educated at Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, He graduated as M.B, Ch.B, at Aberdeen University in 1913, having won many distinctions as a student, and, deciding to specialise in neurology, became a resident at the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London. His work as an R.A.M.C. captain attached to the Empire Hospital for Injuries of the Nervous System during the 1914-1918 War brought him into touch with Henry Head, who encouraged him to publish valuable papers on visual perception after war injuries and on the reflex functions of the divided spinal cord. On demobilisation, he joined the newly established medical unit at the London Hospital and the staff of the Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis, Maida Vale. He began consulting practice in 1924, on election to the staff of the former, and quickly achieved success. He was also appointed to the staff of the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic and became consulting neurologist to the Claybury Mental Hospital. He examined for his old University and delivered the Lumleian Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians in 1938. A year later, at the start of the Second World War, he was made head of the E.M.S. Neurological Unit at Chase Farm Hospital, to which his own neurological department at the London Hospital had been evacuated. In 1941 he was appointed consulting neurologist to the Army, with the rank of brigadier, and at the end of the War he accepted the same appointment from the Ministry of Pensions.
Riddoch’s ability was apparent in every task that he undertook and for this reason his researches, which had shown early promise, suffered as the claims of his practice increased. Here, as in his teaching, his proficiency was enhanced by a humorous and lovable personality, that made " Wee Georgie", with his stock of Aberdonian tales and infectious laugh, a universally popular figure. In his leisure he delighted in books and music, fishing, and the country life of Rothiemay. He married in 1916 Margaret, daughter of John Ledingham of Aberdeen, and had two sons, and a daughter. He died in the London Hospital.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1947; B.M.J., 1947; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1948, 15]