Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Tribute to William Armstrong

William Armstrong, a Jack of all trades, died on 6 August 2015, aged 95.

Bill was a reluctant ‘chemist’s apprentice’. The hours in the 1930s were long and not very compatible with his enjoyment of cycling, fishing and hill walking. Those were the days when practically all prescriptions had to be made individually and the final product wrapped and sealed with wax. After a four-year apprenticeship, Bill studied at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh. During this period, students were part of the University Home Guard and “enjoyed” army training three times a week, plus ‘fire watching’ at the college. Three years later, he gained his PhC as a pharmaceutical chemist.

After teaching Radar in the RAF, he returned to ‘civvy street’ in Edinburgh producing codeine for Macfarlan Smith. He then moved to Perth in Scotland where, at Thomas Harley, he developed a method for manufacturing warfarin, which at that time was used as a rat poison. While there, he was honoured to be invited to join the Scottish Board of Examiners for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

After moving into management, he joined Rosalex in Winsford to set up a new factory and then moved to Horlicks who, at the time, manufactured a large range of tablets and injectables. After it was taken over, he had a short period back in retail pharmacy before going back into industry as the “qualified person” for Wallace Pharmaceuticals.

At age 65 he said goodbye to the analytical laboratory and returned to Perth for a more leisurely life enjoying outdoor pursuits and undertaking charity work for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA). His thirst for knowledge remained throughout his life. He gained an Open University BSc in science when he was in his 70s. He remained very active until the last few years and was a distinguished photographer, achieving a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20200001

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
PJJ Static MPU
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.