Sir David Wallace was a pioneer of urological surgery in Edinburgh. During the Boer War he was in charge of the Edinburgh South African Hospital, an experience which impressed upon him the importance of the Red Cross Movement in reducing and mitigating the horrors of war. Becoming active in the British Red Cross Society, he was instrumental in forming the Edinburgh branch and became its Chairman.
David Wallace was educated at Dollar Academy and graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University in 1884. He obtained the FRCSEd in 1887 and went on to become Assistant Surgeon in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he trained for some years under Professor John Chiene. In 1900 he saw service in the Boer War as Surgeon in charge of the Edinburgh South African Hospital. He was mentioned in dispatches and received the South African Medal and clasp, and was appointed CMG.
This wartime experience had shown him the importance of the Red Cross Society and he was instrumental in founding the Edinburgh branch of which he was to become Honorary Secretary and then Chairman for a total of 30 years. During the First World War he was called to the staff of the 2nd Scottish General who were mobilised in 1914. His invaluable experience in the Red Cross however, resulted in his being appointed Red Cross Commissioner for South East Scotland, a post regarded by many as more demanding than an Army command.
In civilian practice he had developed an interest in urological surgery, which he developed in the Royal infirmary. He was lecturer in surgery at Surgeon’s Hall and then at the University, going on to become surgeon in charge of wards in the Royal Infirmary for the customary 15 year period from 1908-1923. On leaving the Infirmary he became visiting surgeon to Liberton and Longmore hospitals.
Wallace received many honours. He was elected to the French Association of Urology and was President of the College from 1921 to 1923. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh and received from his Alma Mater, the Honorary degree of LLD.
Edinburgh Medical Journal; 1952; v59; p355-356
British Medical Journal; 1952; v1; p976-977
Lancet; 1952; v1
University of Edinburgh Journal; 1951-53; v16; p114