John Trevor Stamp, CBE, DSc, FRSE, FRCVS, former director, Moredun Research Institute; born December 3, 1915, died December 6, 1996

WITH John Stamp's death, the veterinary profession has lost one of its most illustrious pathologists and research workers.

John Stamp, who originated from Grimsby, graduated from the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School in 1941 after a meritorious student career which saw him garnering class prizes and medals.

Following a short period in practice, he was awarded a Centenary Fellowship from the Dick, which enabled him to undertake training in pathology at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, supervised by Professors Dunn and Browning, before returning to the Dick for a four-year appointment as a lecturer in pathology.

There he started his personal research into bovine tuberculosis: a classic piece of work for which he was awarded a DSc in 1952. By then he had been appointed as Veterinary Investigation Officer with the East of Scotland College of Agriculture (today part of the Veterinary Services of the Scottish Agriculture Colleges).

The late 1940s and 1950s were very productive years for John and his colleagues in their on-farm involvement with numerous animal disease problems. The diagnostic service was extended and improved, the causes of several diseases - such as tick-borne fever, perinatal mortality in sheep, and pneumonia - were investigated, and control measures implemented.

He was the first to report the problem of nematodirus and worked out, with colleagues, a clean pasture system of control. His work brought him into contact with scientists at the Moredun Research Institute and he collaborated with the Institute's bacteriologist, Dr A D McEwen, on enzootic abortion of ewes.

It was the seminal finding of Stamp and McEwen that the disease was caused by an unusual organism, subsequently designated Chlamydia psittaci, which transformed the understanding of enzootic abortion and opened the way to diagnostic procedures, the development of an empirical but effective inactivated vaccine, and improved control of a very costly disease.

As a distinguished research scientist, it was not surprising that in 1954 John Stamp should be appointed as Scientific Director of the Moredun Research Institute. His appointment and tenure till 1977 coincided with a liberality of public research funding, which John made full use of to develop the institute physically and intellectually. New buildings were added to the institute, staff numbers increased, research programmes developed, and the international reputation of the institute for quality research in farm animal diseases was firmly established.

Coupled with his administrative responsibilities was a continuing personal contribution to research in several important areas. Notable was his scientific work, with colleagues, on ovine pneumonia, nematode infection, septicaemia of growing lambs, and scrapie of sheep. Some of this work on scrapie with colleagues at the then Animal Breeding Research Organisation is of increasing importance with the current interest in and concern about BSE.

John Stamp's wide knowledge of sheep diseases was exemplified in the joint authorship, with Dr Allan Fraser, of a key text-book Sheep Husbandry and Diseases, published in 1957.

John Stamp's ability and achievements received wide professional and national recognition. At various times he served as president of the Scottish Metropolitan Division of the BVA, of the Association of Veterinary Teachers and Research Workers, and of the Sheep Veterinary Society. He served on the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for several years and was its president in 1970-71.

His personal awards included the John Hendry Steel Medal in 1964, the National Sheep Association's George Hedley Award in 1964, the BVA's Dalrymple Champney Cup and Medal in 1976, and the Royal Agricultural Society of England and Wales Bledisloe Medal in 1976. In 1973 he was awarded the CBE.

John's expertise and abilities were frequently called upon. He travelled on behalf of FAO, the British Council, and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to Africa, Turkey, Australia, the USA, and Canada, advising on sheep health and other veterinary matters. His scientific and professional roles were always carried out with drive and enthusiasm coupled with a firmness of approach that sought to identify needs and achieve sensible solutions. He was, too, a kind and considerate man; a genial host who greatly enjoyed social events.

John's 23 years as director of the Moredun Institute were very productive years, thanks in part to his skilful direction and the use he made of the opportunities available during a period of growth in research and development. After retirement John continued to be a valuable source of advice on matters of sheep health. Unfortunately, because of failing health in the past few years, he was not able to continue with his professional contacts.

As befitting someone of John Stamp's outstanding reputation the funeral service held on December 11, 1996, at St Baldred's Episcopal Church, North Berwick, the town John lived in and loved for so many years, was crowded with members of the veterinary profession.

n Appreciation by Professor Ian D Aitken and

Dr W B Martin, present and past directors of the Moredun Institute