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Biographical entry McNab, Angus (1875 - 1914)

MRCS Dec 8th 1904; FRCS Dec 8th 1904; BA New Zealand 1895; BSc 1896; MB ChB Edin 1901.

New Zealand
1 November 1914
General surgeon and Ophthalmic surgeon


Born in New Zealand, a brother of the Hon Robert McNab, at one time Minister of Agriculture. He graduated BA and BSc at Otago, then entered Edinburgh University, where he became distinguished as a Rugby football player, being in the first reserve for Scotland, and President of the Athletic Club. He went out to the South African War with the Edinburgh Hospital, and on his return, having graduated in medicine and surgery, acted as House Surgeon in the Ophthalmic Department of the Royal Infirmary under Professor G A Berry. He next studied ophthalmology in Vienna and in Freiburg under Axenfeld, and became so proficient in German as to contribute articles to the German medical papers.

In 1903 he acted as Refractionist at the Central London Ophthalmic Hospital, and was Clinical Assistant at the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields. Meanwhile he studied general surgery at King's College and the London Hospitals, and passed the FRCS at the end of 1904. By 1905 he was in ophthalmic practice at 59 Davies Street, Berkeley Square, next at 31 New Cavendish Street, and finally at 118 Harley Street. He continued as Clinical Assistant at Moorfields, eventually becoming Chief. He was also Clinical Assistant to the Ophthalmic Department of Charing Cross Hospital and Ophthalmic Surgeon to King Edward VII Hospital, Windsor.

For more than three years he had been attached to the London Scottish Regiment. He took up rifle-shooting and got into the last 200 at the Bisley Meeting. Immediately on the outbreak of the War in 1914 he went into camp, and thence with his regiment to France. Before going to the Front, whilst at Villeneuve, he was busy as a general surgeon treating the wounded from the battles on the Marne and Oise whilst 100 of the London Scottish acted as stretcher-bearers. In a characteristic letter he remarks: "There is a great satisfaction in saving a man's life; pottering about with eyes may be a neater and cleaner job, but it is a poor business compared with what we are doing here." An officer at the Front wrote that he had saved many lives under most adverse circumstances.

In the first engagement in which the London Scottish Regiment was concerned in Belgium he was wounded, and although bleeding continued calmly bandaging a wounded man; the Germans advancing he was killed, bayonetted whilst bending down attending to two wounded men. It was bright moonlight, at 2 am on Nov 1st, 1914, he had a white badge of the Red Cross on his arm, and was in a blue tunic. Such was the report of a motor-cyclist dispatch rider. He is one of the first three FRCS on the Roll of Honour. He left a widow and two small children.

Translation of Axenfeld's Bacteriology of the Eye, 1908; also Lohmann's Disturbances of the Visual Functions, 1913.
"Diplococcus Liquefaciens." - Klin Monats f Augenheilk, 1904, i, 54.
"Ueber Infektion der Kornea." - Ibid, 65.
"Marginal Blepharitis." - Royal Ophihal Hosp Rep, 1906, xvi, 307.

Sources used to compile this entry: [London Hosp Gaz, 1914, xvii, 108, with a good portrait. Ophihal Rev, 1914, xxxiii, 353].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England