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IN tribute to William Fleming Hoggan Jarrett (VR, September 10, 2011, vol 169, p 290), Max Murray, Sir James Armour, Jim Neil, Peter Holmes, Craig Sharp, Sandy Love, Stuart Reid and Os Jarrett write: Bill Jarrett, who died on August 27, aged 83, was ‘one of the most outstanding veterinary pathologists of all time’ (Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior). While he is probably best known for his discovery of the virus that causes leukaemia and lymphoma in domestic cats, his research included a remarkable range of subjects over a period of 40 years. Initially he was part of a group that established the veterinary school in Glasgow as a major centre of parasitological research, and subsequently, he made critical discoveries in viral diseases and cancers of animals that led to epoch-making developments in human medicine.
Bill was born in Glasgow in 1928 and raised on his family's smallholding near Cumbernauld. He was one of three brothers, Tom the elder and Oswald the youngest, who became veterinary surgeons. He was educated locally at Lenzie Academy. He graduated from the Glasgow Veterinary College with honours in 1949 and then began three years of postgraduate studies in pathology at the college and at the University of Glasgow Medical School with Dan Cappell, the eminent professor of pathology. This experience gave him a wide understanding of animal and human diseases and was the foundation for his future research in comparative medicine.
He was fortunate then to find an environment in which to exploit his talents in research. The old veterinary college had been incorporated into the university in 1949 and had undergone a remarkable transformation under William (later Sir William) Weipers, who recruited a cohort of energetic young scientists to the new veterinary school. Bill became a lecturer in veterinary pathology and joined an …