A student of Gilbert Spencer at Glasgow School of Art he went on two win a place a Hospitalfields where he studied under Ian Fleming. A distinguished career in art education followed, culminating in the post of Head Examiner for Art in Scotland. In 1958 he became a founder member of the Glasgow Group and formed the Glasgow Group Society of which he was vice-president for 32 years. He also served the Royal Scottish Watercolour Society as Vice President and Treasurer.
A full obituary was published in the Glasgow Herald and can be found here - http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12428015.William_Birnie/