Paediatrics/Community Child Health
Designatory Letters: 
MB Edin 1948, MRCP Edin 1955, DTM&H Lond 1955, DCH Lond 1957, FRCP Edin 1968

General Reay led a distinguished career in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and was the last Director General of Army Medical Services prior to the amalgamation into a tri-service Ministry of Defence (MOD) medical service. He was the first to recognise the need for an army paediatric service and to establish it.

Hubert Alan John Reay was born 19 March at Hednesford, Staffordshire, son of an (army) Chaplain. He was educated at Lancing College and Edinburgh University (MB 1948). In the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh he was house physician to the late Dr WDD Small. His career soon moved in to the RAMC where he initially served in the Malayan campaign, being mentioned in dispatches. Several army appointments followed, including one in the USA army and later Great Ormond Street (where he developed his lifelong interest in paediatrics). He developed the Army’s paediatric referral centre at Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot, becoming the MODs adviser in paediatrics. Later he became the Commandant of the Royal Army Medical College, Millbank (1977).

During Sir Alan’s tenure as DGAMS the Falklands War coincided with the major drive by the MOD to make serious cuts in military spending thus creating a dilemma for the services. He frequently found himself at odds with the Civil Service. He strongly believed that medical services should be integrated with the combat forces. In the Falklands War he flew to the islands to do his own debriefing of the medical activities.

He was elected Fellow of the RCPE (1968) the RCPL (1973), RCGP (1986) and RCPCH (1997). He was made KBE in 1981. After retirement he continued his interest in paediatrics with an honorary post at Great Ormond Street and presidency of the paediatric section of the Royal Society of Medicine. His tall figure and dignified bearing fitted him well for the post of Chief Steward at Westminster Abbey.

He died 4 February 2012 at the age of 86. His wife of over 50 years, Ferelith (Haslewood Deane) two daughters and two of their three sons survive him.