Elected: 1966
Discipline: Organismal and Environmental Biology
Professor Douglas Mackay Henderson CBE FRSE
Douglas Mackay Henderson was born in Blairgowrie on 30 August 1927, the second son of Captain Frank Morrison Henderson and Adine Cornfute Mackay. His father, the son of a bank agent, began training as a banker in Trinity, Edinburgh before he ran away to sea. He became a Master Mariner and held a command for many years with the Ben Line, serving with the Merchant Navy during both World Wars. His mother was the daughter of Charles Gordon Mackay, for forty years medical practitioner in Lochcarron, and former associate of Joseph Lister. Douglas’ eldest brother, the late Frank Paterson, became a geologist and his younger brother Andrew Ernest, a zoologist. Douglas’ father was at sea for lengthy spells and died when in his fifties and the responsibility for rearing the family devolved therefore upon their able mother and Helen Watt (‘En’), her characterful maid from Buchan. Mrs Henderson awakened the boy’s love of Wester Ross and Highland culture, including his love for skating. ‘En’, for whom Douglas had great affection and esteem, led him to value and enjoy the worth of every individual. In later life, when he was privileged to mix with people of every social background, it was characteristic of him to shun humbug and judge everyone on their merits while treating each with equal respect.

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