Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents

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Robert Robertson


BBS* 1880-5

Robert Robertson was born in 1869 and was Dux of School in 1885. He became the chief government chemist and invented Amatol. He was knighted for his services to chemistry.

Gleaned from CUPAR DOCTORS – and their families by David W W Hendry, 5 Eden Park, Cupar

Robert Robertson was born in CuparFife, and educated at Bell Baxter School. After leaving school he attended St. Andrews University, where he graduated in both Arts and Science. The same institution would later award him an honorary LLD.

Sir Robert Robertson KBE FRS (17 April 1869 — 28 April 1949) was a Scottish chemist who served as HM Government's Government Chemist between 1921 and 1936. He was the first person to establish that two types of natural diamond existed.

After leaving university he was appointed assistant in the laboratory of the city analyst in Glasgow. He later obtained the post of analyst in the Royal Gunpowder Factory at Waltham Abbey. His work as Director of Explosives Research during the Great War was recognised with the award of a KBE. He was also honoured with his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1917. In 1921 he became Chief Government Chemist, a post held until his retirement in 1936.

In 1922 he was elected President of the Faraday Society, in 1924 President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and from 1925 to 1927 he was a council member of the Royal Society of London. In 1944, he was awarded the Royal Society's Davy Medal ’in recognition of his researches on explosives, analytical methods, the internal structure of diamond, and infra-red absorption spectra’.

Sir Robert Robertson's archives are held by Archive Services, University of Dundee.

  • This is clearly in error, as Bell Baxter did not come into existence until 1889. However, that he won the Balgonie Gold Medal as Dux, almost certainly of Madras Academy, Cupar, is not in doubt. The School Honours Boards list the winners of that medal from its institution in 1861.

Robin Robertson


BBS 1927-33

Dr Robin Robertson died in early February 1992. Dr Robertson began his schooling in Bell Baxter in 1927 and was both Dux Medallist and Sports Champion. After war service in the RAMC and five years as a POW following capture at St Valéry, he became a GP in Dalkeith until retirement in 1984. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter and five grand-children.

From CUPAR DOCTORS – and their families by David W W Hendry, 5 Eden Park,Cupar:

Dr Robin Robertson was born in Cupar in 1914, the son of Robert (Robin) Robertson and Margaret Lessels Russell. Robert was the Weights and Measures Inspector for Fife, like his father George and his younger brother Glen.

These Robertsons (presumably Peter Caw and Robin – Ed.) were descended from a Robert born about 1725, who was ‘out in the '45’ and was in hiding for two years in Birnam woods before coming to Dundee in 1749. He was blind as the result of smallpox but became a musician. His son may have been a tinsmith in Dundee and his grandson became a goldsmith who came to Cupar as a Jeweller. The latter had sons John Alexander born 1825 and George Brunton b 1836.

John Alexander was a dentist at 34 Bonnygate, who had studied dentistry in London, practised in Baltimore, where he took the DDS, and was registered with the British Medical Council in 1878. His family included Robert born 1869 who was the chief government chemist and who invented Amatol. His name is in the Dux Roll at Bell Baxter School and he was knighted for his services to chemistry.

George Brunton had a son Robert (Robin) as above.

Robert's son Robin was at Bell Baxter School and was known for his prowess in rugby and cricket. He qualified BSc in 1935, and MB ChB St Andrews in 1938. He was a tennis player for Cupar club when a student in St Andrews and played against my uncle, Charles Hendry. He did some locums for Maitland and Bonar before becoming a House Surgeon at Perth Infirmary in 1938.

Having been in the Territorial Army, he was called up in September 1939 and was selected for 152 Field Ambulance which went to France in January 1940. He was captured by the Germans in June and was only released in May 1945 by General Patton's troops.

After demobilisation at Newbattle Abbey he stayed on at Dalkeith where there was a shortage of young doctors. When he retired in 1984 his practice there had five full time doctors.

Victoria Robertson

Victoria Robertson took part in the regional event ‘Pianoman Workshop’ when she was in S5 in 2007 and was chosen to receive an all-expenses paid 2-hour private piano lesson from concert pianist Richard Meyrick in London. She was one of only 20 from the whole country invited. Victoria is a member of Cupar Junior Opera and has just been accepted by the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Allan Rodger

Allan Rodger (1940) died in hospital in Aberdeen after a long illness on 13th April 2008. When he left School, Allan studied Geography at Edinburgh University and then he trained as a teacher at Moray House. He spent his entire teaching career at Inverurie Academy, where he became Principal Teacher of Geography. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

John C Rodger


BBS 1938-43

John Rodger (1938) died very suddenly at home at the end of November 1998. On leaving school John went to Art College in Dundee, but in 1944 he volunteered for military service and was commissioned into the Black Watch. He served in India at the time when Britain was about to withdraw and took the opportunity to explore the Himalayas. After completing his service, he continued his Art studies in Edinburgh and then gained his teaching diploma at Moray House. He began his teaching career in Glenrothes High School. In 1967 he succeeded his old Art teacher, Mr George Liddle, as Principal Teacher of Art in Bell Baxter, where he remained until he retired in 1984. He is survived by his wife Mavis (née MacGregor (qv)) and a son and two daughters.

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