James Valentine was born on 2 October 1906, of farming stock, in Glasgow. He won a scholarship to Hutcheson's Grammar School where he was an outstanding student (Dux Medalist, School Captain and Captain of cricket). He read Medicine at Glasgow where, he recalled, he met Ferguson Rodger (later Professor of Psychiatry) in their first week in the Anatomy Room and the two remained close friends until the latter's death. As a student Jim was active in many areas, but is particularly remembered for being a founding member of the National Party of Scotland (now the SNP) and serving on its National Council. He trained at Bethlem Royal Hospital (where, being in London, he was an assiduous theatre-goer). Then he went to Gartnavel Hospital, Glasgow, where his duties included waiting at Central Station to receive consignments of mosquitos from the Mott Clinic, Horton Hospital, Epsom, then used in the treatment of general paralysis of the insane (GPI).