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Sutherland, J.D. (1965). W. R. D. Fairbairn—1889—1964. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:245-247.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:245-247

W. R. D. Fairbairn—1889—1964

J. D. Sutherland

Dr Ronald Fairbairn died in the last hours of 1964. His health had been deteriorating in recent years and during December he had one or two slight strokes. He was in his 76th year.

Born in Edinburgh, he was educated at Merchiston Castle School and Edinburgh University, where he graduated in 1911 with honours in philosophy. He then spent three years of postgraduate study in divinity and in Hellenistic Greek in Germany and in England. This direction of his interests to the humanities was modified, however, during active service in the first World War, when he served in the Palestinian campaign under Allenby. He decided to follow the then unusual course of becoming a psychotherapist, and he returned to Edinburgh University to qualify in medicine, which he did in 1923. There followed a year's psychiatric experience in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital before he began his private practice, which he continued in Edinburgh for the next forty years. From 1927 to 1935 he was lecturer in psychology in Edinburgh University, and for most of this period he also acted as psychiatrist to the University Psychological Clinic for Children. In the early part of the second World War he was visiting psychiatrist at Carstairs Hospital, a psychoneurosis unit in the Emergency Medical Service, and subsequently consultant psychiatrist to the Ministry of Pensions, a post which he held until 1954.

From the start of his work he contributed regularly papers which aroused a high degree of interest and respect.

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