Captain David Arthur

Biography of Captain David Arthur

David Arthur was born on the 21st May 1885 in Airdrie, Lanarkshire. He was one of five sons (and three sisters) born to George Arthur (1848-1899), a notable Architect and the twenty-fifth Provost of the Burgh of Airdrie, and his mother, Margaret Catherine Arthur (née Fitzgerald) (1854-1942). He grew up in Airdrie and received his early education at Airdrie Academy.

David embarked upon an Arts degree at the University in 1901 when he was aged 16, however after his first year he transferred over to study for a Science degree. A highly capable student, Arthur won various prizes during his time here. He was awarded certificates in Zoology and Physiology whilst undertaking classes for his BSc. After graduating, David remained at the University to study for a medical degree where he continued to shine, gaining certificates in Embryology, Practical Physiology and Diseases of the Throat and Nose. He graduated MB in 1907.

After completing his medical degree David worked for a short time in general practice before obtaining a resident appointment at the Western Infirmary. In 1909 he joined the Indian Medical Service, where he served for 5 years before returning to Scotland. Arthur arrived home towards the end of July 1914, just before the start of war. Due to the outbreak he soon returned to India to serve again with the Indian Medical Service, 7th Bn. Rajputs, Indian Establishment. Sailing from India with the original Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, he was present at the landing at Mahamerah and travelled to what is now known as modern day Iraq to fight in the Battle of Qurna. He was later wounded at the Battle of Ctesiphon and was awarded the Military Cross in 1915. He was Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) specifically for his bravery and devotion to duty for his actions in Qurna, Ctesiphon and Arvaz.

Captain David Arthur was taken prisoner during the fall of Kut, remaining in captivity near Constantinople before dying of blood poisoning aged 32. A fellow officer Major Barber, writing to Arthur's relatives, stated:

‘In Captain Arthur the Service has lost a fine officer and a generous soul, and some of us a valued friend.’

He is memorialised at the Baghdad War Cemetery, North Gate.


Captain David Arthur
Rank: Captain
Regiment: Indian Medical Service - 7th Bn. Rajputs - Indian Establishment
Degree: BSc MB ChB
Awards: Military Cross, Mentioned in Despatches
Comments: Killed in action, 31 July 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/346, 951
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/11


University of Glasgow Faculty, General Council and Registry records.

Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

Matriculation Slip 1901-1902 R8/5/22/1

BSc Graduation Schedule 1895-1906 R4/5/2

Press Cutting Ch 4/4/2/3/346, 951

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