Robert Fraser Gordon

  • Born: 1908 (United Kingdom)
  • Died: 1981
  • Inducted: 2013
Bob Gordon was born and educated in Aberdeen, Scotland. After graduating from Aberdeen University in Zoology and Geology he gained a scholarship to the Royal Veterinary College, London, and qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon in 1933. He joined the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food’s Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge, becoming Head of the Poultry Diagnostic Department where he stayed for the next 14 years. He became an expert on salmonellosis and developed the rapid whole blood stained antigen test for pullorum disease, enabling its eradication from the United Kingdom.

In 1947 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science from Aberdeen University for this work. His major contribution was as the founding Director of a research station devoted to research on poultry in 1948. Starting with three scientists in war-time huts, he developed the Houghton Poultry Research Station which became the largest centre for poultry disease research in the world.

This would not have been possible without Bob’s drive, knowledge and leadership. Bob was held in high esteem by the British poultry industry for his wide knowledge of the industry and its disease problems, and for his promotion of the need for disease research. He retired in 1973 after 25 years as Director. He continued his interest in the poultry industry and poultry diseases and initiated and edited a widely popular book entitled “Poultry Diseases”, now (2013) in its 6th edition.

Bob Gordon initiated the founding of the British Veterinary Poultry Association and became its first President in 1956. At the same time he was instrumental in the founding of the World Veterinary Poultry Association, being the Provisional Secretary during the negotiations between 1955 and its founding in 1959, after which he was its first Secretary/Treasurer. He was elected President in 1967 and an Honorary Life President in 1969.

Bob’s many awards included an Honorary Doctorate of Veterinary Science from the University of Liverpool and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1970. He was created Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1972.

Bob was married to Hilda and they had two boys, Ian and Alastair.

WVPA thanks Peter Biggs and Jim Payne for compiling this profile.

< back to honours list