Roll of Honour

Surgeon Probationer

John Ebenezer MacIntyre


John Ebenezer MacIntyre was from Gairloch, the son of a merchant. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow in 1912 to study Medicine. First year consisted of Chemistry, Zoology, and Anatomy; followed by Physiology and Anatomy in year two; then Pathology, Materia Medica, and Clinical Surgery in third year.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

MacIntyre and his classmate, John Hislop, both left university in 1915 to join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. As third-year medical students, they were commissioned as Surgeon Probationers, the most junior of the Royal Navy's Medical Branch. Surgeon Probationers gained practical experience by performing GP duties, in addition to attending battle casualties. In fact, MacIntyre and Hislop were receiving on-the-job training much as they would have if they stayed in Glagow, where third-year medical students worked on the wards of the city's hospitals.

MacIntyre was posted to HMS Ardent. The Ardent was an Acasta-class destroyer built by William Denny & Brothers in Dumbarton. After initiating contact with a German ship, she found herself facing an entire division of battleships. According to the Official History, Ardent was reduced to “a mere mass of scrap-iron” in “a minute or so” with only two survivors. Lieutenant-Commander Marsden, one of the survivors, described “Our guns were useless against such adversaries; we could do no more than wait for the first salvo. … Shell after shell hit us, our speed diminished and then we stopped. Our three guns ceased firing one by one.” (Bennet 1964: 142)

John MacIntyre’s body was recovered along with a number of other British and German casualties by a Norwegian submarine commander. They are interred at Tonsberg Old Cemetery on the Norwegian coast. Marsden said of his crew, “ All hands fought the ship with the utmost gallantry till she sank beneath them” (Ibid.: 143).