Captain John Alston

Biography of Captain John Alston

Captian John Alston was born in Glasgow in 1894, son to Jane and John Alston, a Wine and Spirits Merchant. He was educated at Ardrossan Academy and the Glasgow High School before enrolling at the University in 1911, aged 17, to study Medicine.

In his first year at the University John took classes in Geology, Chemistry and Anatomy, followed by Anatomy and Physiology in his second year.

During his third year at the University he studied Materia Medica and Pathology, and in his fourth year he studied Surgery and Midwifery, and took classes in Skin, and the Throat and Nose.

Alston’s studies were marked with success and he was awarded several class prizes during his studies here. In 1912 he was awarded a Second-class Certificate in Anatomy and First-Class certificates in Practical Anatomy, Physiology and Practical Physiology. In 1913 he received a Second Class Certificate in Materia Medica and Therapeutics. In 1914 he was awarded a Commendation Certificate in Surgery, whilst studying under the renowned Sir William McEwen.

The session of 1915-1916 was his final year at the University, and after sitting his final Medical examinations he graduated MB ChB on 5 April 1916. He attended the Medical Faculties Final Dinner for the graduating class of 1916 and is photographed in the dinner book alongside his other classmates.

It was in 1914, during his studies at the University, that John joined the University’s Officer Training Corps. He also made a valuable contribution to the war effort during his studies, using his medical background to assist in Military Hospitals in both Glasgow and Bournemouth.

In September of 1916 he travelled to France with Royal Army Medical Corps, 103rd Field Ambulance, soon gaining his commission as Captain, and was stationed at Arras. For his efforts at Arras, Alston was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry and bravery. In the summer of 1916 the Field Ambulance was transferred to Belgium, and it was here that Captain Alston was killed on the 16 October 1917 by shell fire.

He is buried at the Canada Farm Cemetery (grave reference III. D. 38), which takes its name from the farmhouse on this ground, to the north-west of Ypres, which was utilised as a dressing station during the 1917 Allied offensive on this front.


Captain John Alston
Rank: Captain
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps
Degree: MB ChB
Awards: Military Cross
Comments: Killed in action, 16 October 1917
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/948
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/3/948


University of Glasgow Faculty, General Council and Registry Records

Additional information:RAMC in Great War

Burial Place:Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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