Intellectual gifts, training in forestry and natural history, a pioneering spirit, an instinct for nature, and an ability to cool human conflicts, all combined to make Joe a heavyweight as a forester and conservationist. He brought order to forestry and nature conservation where before there was confusion, firmness instead of indecision, and a reliance on common sense amid flights of highminded scientific dogma. His feet never left the ground.
Joe Eggeling was born in Upper Largo, Fife, on 18 July 1909. He was the son of a doctor, and his upbringing gave him an intellectual and moral integrity which lasted a lifetime. At seven years of age, while nominally at Kirkton of Largo Parish School, he spent 18 months on his back with tuberculosis of the hip, but, despite this, he rose to a distinguished career. Following St Mary’s Preparatory School, Melrose, where he was Vice-Captain, Dux and Victor Ludorum, he finished his schooling at Giggleswick, Yorkshire. At Edinburgh University he was awarded a BSc in Forestry, gaining the Younger Medal in Practical Forestry, and three class medals for Indian and Colonial forestry, and forest mycology. In 1930-31 he attended the Colonial Service Postgraduate Course in Forestry at Oxford University.