John Anderson, or 'Jock' as he was known to everyone, was an enthusiast for medicine, the army, the Church of Scotland, rugby and bridge. He was a man of great integrity, totally devoid of pomposity and pretense, a convivial companion, a most hospitable host, a wise counsellor and considered by all to be a good friend.
From school at Loretto in Edinburgh, he went to do his pre-clinical studies in Oxford and his clinical training back in Edinburgh. After qualifying he did national service in the RAMC in the Suez canal zone. Subsequently he brought together clinical training and practice with public health, including special interests in rheumatology, rehabilitation, general practice, occupational medicine and community medicine (later public health medicine).
Initially he was a partner and lecturer in Richard Scott's pioneering department of general practice in Edinburgh University, followed by a post of senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene. He then moved to Guy's Hospital School, becoming a professor in 1977. His outstanding contribution during his time at Guy's will be remembered by many.
He took early retirement in 1990 and then accepted an invitation to set up the department of community medicine in the new medical school of the United Arab Emirates at Al Ain. A respected researcher with special interest in health services research, back pain, physical disability and self-medication, he brought these skills and his very considerable experience as a university teacher to the developing school of medicine at Al Ain.
Jock had enjoyed his national service with the RAMC and subsequently joined the territorial army. After moving to London he was appointed RMO to the London Scottish and this was the start of an allegiance which gave him the utmost pride and pleasure for the rest of his life. Most unusually for a medical officer, he was placed in command of a combatant unit and there could be no better testimony to his military and personal qualities than the resounding success with which he commanded the London Scottish Company of the 51st Highland Volunteers over nearly four years. Promotion in 1981 to TA colonel for London district (south) was an appropriate recognition of his outstanding services but the ultimate accolade came two years later with his appointment as regimental colonel of the London there was no honour that meant more to him.
Jock lived life to the full with many involvements and areas of service. A devoted member of St Columba's Church of Scotland in London, and an elder there for twenty years, in his retirement he was an elder of Cannongate Kirk in Edinburgh. He was president of the Caledonian Society of London and several years later, president of the Caledonian Society of the United Arab Emirates. He was deputy lieutenant of Richmond and then, following re-organisation, of Greater London.
He was a superb bridge player and in earlier years a very well respected rugby referee. His interest and expertise in public health, primary care, occupational medicine and rehabilitation ensured a regular list of invitations to international meetings, overseas consultancies and external examinations. His commitment in all these tasks ensured that he was held in the highest respect and affection by many now holding very senior positions in universities, both in the UK and many other countries, and many ministries of health.
Jock played a very important role within the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. He was a founder fellow of the Faculty, then known as Community Medicine, and a major influence in its early development. He provided particular leadership as academic registrar, developing the education and training programme and ensuring that this was based on the soundest educational methods.
His generosity, whether in academic settings where he was always prepared to spend time and effort with younger colleagues starting their career, or his hospitality at home with his wife Mairead, was extremely well-known and contributed enormously to the influence he had within his many spheres of activity.
Jock married Mairead MacLaren in 1965 and none of the well-deserved honours and distinctions he received compared to the pride and pleasure he derived from his home and family. Whether in London, the Emirates or Edinburgh, his home was always a supremely happy place.