AN islander’s search for his illustrious grandfather’s years in Herefordshire has stirred many memories all over the county.

William Ainslie’s quest to locate the people and places associated with his namesake, GP and surgeon Dr William Ainslie, whose portrait hangs in Hereford County Hospital, has so far yielded a long-lost relative, and the son of the eminent obstetrician’s chauffeur.

Will Ainslie, who runs the Discovery Travel business with his wife, Pamela on the Isle of Wight, has been rediscovering the childhood haunts he remembers from family pilgrimages to the county.

Dr Ainslie, for some years GP at Kington before opening his practice at Walgrave House surgery in Hereford, is fondly remembered by Roy Ankers from Bodenham.

Mr Ankers’ father, James was the doctor’s chauffeur and gardener, and Roy has photographs from that period.

He recalls how his father drove the doctor on fishing trips, and longer journeys north of the border to visit relatives in Elgin.

“He had three cars, an Alvis, a Hillman Minx and a Humber Hawke – one car was built up from the chassis how he wanted it,” said Roy.

“Dr Ainslie was a lovely man, everybody liked him, and his wife, of course.”

A hospital ward at Hereford was named after him, while Ainslie Close in Hereford was named in tribute to Dr Ainslie’s wife, Janet, who served as Mayor of Hereford in 1955.

The couple had two sons, Derek, father of Will Ainslie, was a renowned ophthalmologist, and Ronald was a solicitor.

Their daughter, Juanita, was killed in a tragic accident after flying her plane over the Sahara.

Will Ainslie’s appeal has also put him in touch with Alexander Ainslie from Weobley, a great nephew of Dr Ainslie, who has a detailed family history to share with his relative.

He explained: “Dr Ainslie came to Hereford in 1911 and was awarded the Military Cross during the First World War.

“In 1952 he became the city’s Chief Steward, while his wife became mayor three years later.

“There are wonderful stories of his life,” he said. “When he was a GP at Kington he would conduct operations on farmhouse kitchen tables.

On one occasion, a squeamish farmer was instructed to hold a hurricane lamp while the doctor got to work.

“Apparently the farmer fainted, dropped the lamp and the paraffin started a fire,” explained Will.

“But my great uncle put out the flames and continued with the operation which turned out to be successful!”