Herbert Watt Torrance Israel Scotland

Biography of Herbert Watt Torrance

Herbert Watt Torrance MBChB 1916
Herbert Watt Torrance MBChB 1916

Herbert Watt Torrance graduated MBChB from the University in 1916 and MD in 1921.

He was born in Tiberias, Palestine in 1892, son of medical missionary Dr David Watt Torrance.

Torrance enrolled at the University in 1911, and during his time received medals for Surgery and Clinical Surgery (1914-1915); seven first class certificates for Physics, Surgery, Clinical Surgery, Diseases of the Ear, Diseases of the Throat and Nose and Practical Pathology; as well as nine second class certificates for Zoology, Anatomy, Practical Botany, Systematic Botany, Pathology, Systematic Embryology, Clinical Medicine (junior and senior) and Midwifery. He was later joined at the University by his sisters Lydia Ida Huber and Eleanor Marjorie.

During the First World War, Torrance served in France and Serbia with the Royal Army Medical Corps as a regimental medical officer to Lovat Scouts, and later with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry unit in Italy. He was awarded the Military Cross. You can find his entry in our Roll of Honour here.

Torrance returned to the University of Glasgow as demonstrator and lecturer and to study for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was awarded an MD in 1921 and received a commendation for his thesis on Tay-Sach's disease. He continued further study in Vienna; at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA; and in London, where he obtained his Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Torrance then returned to Tiberias and in 1923 assumed the post of superintendent of the Scottish Mission hospital that his father had established. He was made an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and was awarded an OBE for services rendered during the British Mandate in Palestine.

Following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1949 the hospital became a maternity hospital, and finally closed in 1959. Torrance returned to Scotland in 1961, working as a GP in Dundee, where he died in 1977.

In 1962, the work of the Torrance family for both Arabs and Jews was commemorated in Tiberias by the opening of Torrance Square and Garden, which bears a dedication to Dr David and Herbert Torrance.


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Archival Materials


Herbert Watt Torrance
Born 1892.
Died 4 January 1977.
GU Degrees: MBChB, 1916; Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, MD, 1921;
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate
Occupation categories: missionaries; physicians
WWI: View WWI Roll of Honour Entry
English snippet: Medical graduate of the University of Glasgow in 1916 and 1921
Record last updated: 30th Jun 2021

Country Associations

Israel Israel, Tiberias
Place of Birth

Scotland Scotland, Dundee
Place of Death

University Connections

University Roles