ILLUSTRATING SOME OF THE UNIVERSITY MEDALS OF JAMES ROLAND RIDER
James Roland Rider was the son of a veterinary surgeon. He was born in Beamish, near Durham, in N.E.England, on 13 November 1894. He was educated at St. Bees, Cumbria, and at Newcastle Royal Grammar School.
In 1912 he went to Edinburgh to study at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College but in 1914 the outbreak of war interrupted his studies. Rider enlisted in the Scots Greys and he served at Gallipoli.
In 1916 he returned to the Dick Vet’, and the University medal-winning Rider graduated in 1917, becoming a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He then re-enlisted, serving as a Captain in the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC).
The AVC was responsible for the medical care of animals used by the army; predominantly horses, mules and pigeons. During the Great War, the Corps reorganised to provide a Mobile Veterinary Section as part of each Division that went overseas. A number of Base Veterinary Hospitals were established in the theatres of war. Most animals suffered from battle injuries, debility, exhaustion, mange and, for the first time, gas attacks.
By 1918 almost half of the veterinary surgeons in Great Britain were serving in the AVC. As an Army veterinary surgeon, Rider served until the end of the War and was awarded a pair of medals – the British War medal, and the Victory medal.
On 27 November 1918 King George V conferred the Royal prefix to the Corps in recognition of the work of the AVC… or RAVC (Royal Army Veterinary Corps).
From 1919 Rider was employed as a vet by Pease and Partners Ltd. owners of several mines in the coalfields of Durham and Teeside. In 1928 he declined the offer of a Lectureship at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, only to suffer a cut in working hours the following year due to the Depression which began in 1929. In 1930 however, Rider began his own private practice in Darlington.
In 1932 he published a paper on ‘Hypertrophy and diverticulae in the ileum in pit ponies’ for the Veterinary Record, British Veterinary Association.
James Roland Rider died of pulmonary tuberculosis in Urpeth, Durham, on 19 November 1942.
Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections