Fotheringham, John Taylor

“Major General John Taylor Fotheringham, CMG,  MD one of the fathers of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and noted physician, died Saturday night [May 19, 1940] at his home, 20 Wellesley Street. He was in his eightieth year. Dr. Fotheringham had been in poor health for some time, but had evinced keen interest in the developments of the present [Second World] war. He will be honored with a full military funeral Tuesday afternoon at 3 o’clock from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

Recognized for his outstanding gifts as a teacher, Dr. Fotheringham served for some years on the medical faculty of Trinity Medical School and later the University of Toronto. He was a valued member of the medical staff and consultant of the Toronto General Hospital and Hospital for Sick Children. He won many honors.during his distinguished military career and served continuously during the last war with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. He had been with the corps since its inception in 1900.

Born at Kirkton, Perth County, Dr. Fotheringham was the  son of the late Reverent John and Helen Telfer Fotheringham. He received his early education at St. Mary’s Collegiate Institute. Graduating in 1883 from University College, Toronto with first-class honors in classics, he devoted several years’ to teaching and at one time was classics master at Upper Canada College. He graduated from Trinity Medical College in 1891 as a silver medalist and at the same time received the degree of M.B. from the University of Toronto.

Enlisting with “IV’ Company, Queen’s Own Rifles, in 1879, he was appointed Surgeon-Lieutenant of the 12th Rangers in 1896. A year later he was transferred to the Queen’s Own Rifles with the same rank.

On 20 September 1898 then Surgeon Lieutenant Fotheringham was examined before a Board of Officers at London, England, and awarded a certificate of Proficiency for Medical Officers, and Acting Medical Officers of Volunteers [Canada Gazette 1898]

Recalled to Organization Task

At the outbreak of the last war in 1914 he enlisted for active service and was raised to the rank of colonel . He was appointed assistant director of medical services for Military District No. 2 and served overseas with the Second Canadian Division. In 1917 he was recalled from France to reorganize army medical services and was made director-general of military medical services for Canada, which office he held until 1920. On his return to Ottawa he was a made a Major General.  He was awarded the C.M.G. while in France’ and was mentioned in despatches several times. In 1924 he was gazetted honorary colonel of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps.

His academic career was equally brilliant and in 1892 he was appointed to the staff of Trinity Medical School as lecturer in therapeutics and clinical medicine. Following the
amalgamation of Trinity Medical School with the University of Toronto he continued on the staff as assistant professor in clinical medicine.  Dr. Fotheringham was the first incumbent of the chair established in 1924 by the University of Toronto in history of medicine. In 1918 he received the honorary degree of LL.D . from both the University of Toronto and from Queen’s University. He was also created a Knight of Grace, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. From 1919 to 1922 he was honorary surgeon to the Governor-General of Canada at Ottawa.

Held Many Posts.

As a physician he had served on the staff of St. Michael’s Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and the Toronto General Hospital. He was in charge of the out-patients’ department, St. John’s Hospital, from 1920 to 1930. Dr. Fotheringham was a life member and past president of the [now Royal] Canadian Military institute, honorary life member and past president of the Academy of Medicine, member of St. Andrew’s Society, the Corporation of Trinity College, the senate of the University of Toronto, Board of Management of Knox College, life member of the Canadian Medical Association and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. He was honorary consultant physician for both the Toronto General Hospital and Christie Street Military Hospital, and was consulting physician-in-chief for St. John’s Medical Mission.

Dr. Fotheringham was married in 1891 to C. Jennie McGillivray, daughter of George McGillivray, who predeceased him. Surviving are two daughters, Miss Helen at home and Mrs. Ruth Kilpatrick, and one son, Donald T. Fotheringham .

“General Fotheringham’s death marks the , passing of one of Canada’s most distinguished physicians and soldiers,” said Major General John A. Gunn. “He, was a great character and a marvelous lecturer. Throughout his life his service to mankind and his beloved Canada was his chief thought. Fortunate indeed were those who were privileged to come under his influence and to be regarded as his friends .”

Globe and Mail, May 20, 1940

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