Monday, 6 November 2017

A Jock Marshall story I had forgotten

Stories of the exploits of ‘Jock’ Marshall (1911-1967) when he was Reader in Zoology at Barts in London and later in Monash University abounded in zoological academia in the 1960s. Even before Brian Lofts (1929-2015) arrived in Hong Kong in 1967 from Marshall’s old department at St Bartholomew’s Medical School in London, there were stories of his visit in the late 1950s. But one which Brian recounted I had forgotten until reminded of it in Jock Marshall - One Armed Warrior by Jane Marshall. This biography appears only to be available online here.

One year there was a very pompous ceremony at the University of London - the Queen Mother, as Chancellor, was holding a reception and the red carpet was stretched out for the hierarchical heads to follow Her Majesty into the building while we lesser members waited to follow on. Jock spotted Sir Gavin de Beer emerging from his limousine and setting sail up the red plush. As he came abreast of us he noticed Jock - 'Ah Marshall' he intoned - 'Ah Sir Gavin' replied Jock 'Sober I see’.

Sir Gavin de Beer (1899-1972) was Director of the Natural History Museum from 1950 until 1960. The Queen Mother was Chancellor from 1955 until 1980. Marshall left London for Australia at the end of 1959.