John Mitchell Watt

John Mitchell Watt



Prof John Mitchell Watt was a 20th-century South African physician and pharmacologist. He served in both World Wars and made extensive catalogues of traditional African medicines.

He was born in Port Elizabeth in South Africa on 1 December 1892 and was educated at the Grey Institute High School in Port Elizabeth. His family moved to Scotland and he completed his education at Stirling High School. He studied Medicine at Edinburgh University graduating in 1916. He then joined the Royal Army Medical Corps.

In 1921 he became Professor of Pharmacology at University College, Johannesburg. In 1933 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In the Second World War he was in charge of medical supplies for the South African Defence Headquarters for the entire war. In 1957 he joined the South African Institute for Medical Research.

In 1965 he moved back to Britain to teach at the Plymouth College of Technology before moving into semi-retirement in 1965, also locating to Australia where he was a part-time Demonstrator in Physiology at the University of Queensland.

In 1972 the Rand Afrikaans University awarded him an honorary doctorate (LLD) for his academic writing

He died in Brisbane on 23 April 1980.