Lawrie Mitchell, MBE
Primary: 1942-49
Secondary: 1949-55
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All these years ago while being taught Latin by Ma Proctor, French by D.B. Smith and English by Spen Gove, little did I realise the diverse road ahead. The first diversion came in sixth year when I had a fracture dislocation of the shoulder while playing rugby at Forfar Road. During my admission to D.R.I. I changed from the intention of pursuing journalism to medicine. Despite no background in science I managed to finally graduate.

By the time I had finished my house job in Newfoundland, I was married with the first of four children. After one year in a cottage hospital in St Lawrence, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, we went to Ottawa where I joined the Emergency Department of a new hospital and my wife obtained a teaching appointment. Seven years were spent there and during the last three years I was head of service. Since Ottawa is bilingual, D.B. Smith's training certainly started to have practical use...

The desire to have the children educated in Scotland led to our return to set up house in Monikie It seemed I was then destined to go into general practice somewhere in the area, but a call from the B.M.A. in London changed all that! I was offered and accepted a post in the Military Hospital, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

After one year in Saudi I accepted a post heading a medical team for UNHCR in the Chadian civil war We worked with the Medecins sans Frontieres and with the French Army, including a unit of the Foreign Legion. This assignment ended when Colonel Gaddaffi started bombing us. From dodging chalk thrown by Will Kelly the maths teacher at Morgan to the more serious matter of evading shelling and bombs was a considerable step!

The C.I.A. were around and their polyglot interpreter was a Nigerian who encouraged me to seek work there. A nine month contract to set up the medical support for a major paper mill project and road building by a French company kept me there for almost ten years.

On completion, I went to Gabon for Shell/Elf for a couple of years - a very different country from Nigeria. Following this was a spell on the ocean waves as medical officer for Bouygues Offshore This work was offshore Congo, Nigeria and in the Adriatic.

I was widowed in 1994 and subsequently married a lady from Akpap Okoyong in Cross River State, Nigeria. Eme is the daughter of the clan head and her great great grandmother assisted Mary Slessor to be accepted by the local chiefs.

Then back to Nigeria for a German company building a huge aluminium smelter plant not so far from Calabar. From there it was southern Russia and Kazakhstan as medical director of Caspian Pipeline Consortium. Quite the contrast from Equatorial Africa-especially for my wife!

In 2002 we started the Mary Slessor Foundation. You can see us at We are still on the project and any successful F.P.s who would like to help can see the link on the website or contact me direct at

Portugal, March, 2012