Sir William Watson Cheyne
Sir William Watson Cheyne, 1st Baronet (December 14, 1852, Tasmania-April 19, 1932, Fetlar) was a surgeon and bacteriologist, who was a pioneer of antisepsis in surgery. Later in life, he was Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Shetland. On Fetlar, he was known as "Sir Watson", he was also baptised in Fetlar.
He was born in 1852 as William Cheyne, in a ship, off Hobart in Tasmania. His parents were Captain in the Merchant Navy, Andrew Cheyne, and Elizabeth Margaret Bruce Watson, daughter of Rev. Watson, the Church of Scotland Minister in Fetlar.
Two years after he was born, the family returned to Shetland, and his mother died of tuberculosis soon thereafter. William grew up at the manse in Fetlar with his grandfather, and after he died, with his mother's sisters. One of them was married to Rev. Webster, Watson's successor. William's mother's family blamed Andrew Cheyne for Elizabeth's death, and never told the boy his father's name; he grew up in Fetlar as William Watson.
In 1864, age 12, he started his education at Aberdeen Grammar School, in 1868, he entered Aberdeen University, and in 1871, University of Edinburgh, where he, against his aunts' wishes of him becoming a man of the Church, started to study medicine.
After leaving school, he studied at Edinburgh University, reading surgery and medicine there and graduating in 1875. About this time, when his father died, William became aware of his father's indentity, and changed his name to William Watson Cheyne. In 1876, he worked with Joseph Lister, who was famous for discovering antiseptic medicine, and new sterilisation techniques. By 1877, Cheyne and Lister were both working at King’s College Hospital in London. He became a surgeon there from 1880 to 1917, and professor of surgery between 1891 and 1917.
Cheyne was keen to develop the research and techniques that Lister had pioneered, and this continued both up to and after Lister's death in 1897. He was also greatly influenced by the German bacteriologist, Robert Koch.
He took a role in military medicine, during the Boer War (1900-1901), and in WWI (1914, consulting surgeon to the Royal Navy). His final medical position was as Surgeon General in 1915.
Between 1919-1930, he was Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Shetland.
- Antiseptic Surgery: Its Principles, Practice, History and Results (1882)
- Lister and His Achievements (1885)
- Manual of the Antiseptic Treatment of Wounds (1885)
- Manual of Surgical Treatment, 7 vol.s (1899–1903; with F. Burghard).