In September, 1917, Archie MacNeilage (first editor of The Scottish Farmer) came near to death when he suffered perforated stomach ulcers. He had attended a ram sale on a Tuesday and spent Wednesday morning at the office putting the last touches to that week’s issue.
In the afternoon, he travelled to Perth for a sheep meeting, aiming to stay overnight to attend another ram sale the next day. Instead, he suffered excruciating stomach pain and ended up in hospital for a serious operation. His life had been greatly in danger. He only got home several weeks later and was unable to attend work for several months.
His illness, his obvious absence from the columns of his paper, and fears for his survival, had caused many to realise how much they missed him. Some of them, thereafter, got together to raise a testimonial to him. In March, 1919, he was the guest of honour at a well attended function in the Grosvenor Restaurant, Glasgow. Speeches were made in his honour and he was presented with a cheque for £2000.
There had been more than 4000 contributions not only from the British Isles but ten other countries world wide. They had been made, it was said, in appreciation of the worth of Mr MacNeilage “as a man” and for the valuable services he had rendered to Scottish agriculture.” One speaker said he was one of the most fearless critics and one of the best judges of livestock of almost all kinds. He was also, it was added, “ just and thoroughly honest.”