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Biographical entry Hill, Sir Robert (1865 - 1938)

KCB 1922; KCMG 1919; CB 1918; CVO 1912; MVO 1906; MRCS 2 August 1888; FRCS by election 12 April 1923; Hon FRCS Edinburgh 1920.

25 July 1865
18 April 1938
General surgeon


Born 25 July 1865, the son of Samuel Hill, who practised at 22 Mecklenburgh Square, WC1. His father was educated at the Richmond Hospital, Dublin, was admitted LRCPI 1851, and held the post of resident medical officer to the Dublin Fever Hospitals before entering general practice in London. From his Irish ancestry Robert Hill no doubt inherited the bonhomie which made him so successful in his chosen career. He was educated at the Middlesex Hospital, where he distinguished himself at football, joined the Navy in July 1890, and retired, at his own request, as Medical Director General in October 1923. He never married. He served in HMS Ophir during the Royal colonial tour, 1901, in HMS Renown during the Royal tour in India, 1905-06, and was created MVO fourth class, and in HMS Medina during their Majesties tour in India, 1911-12, when he was created CVO. During the war he was surgeon at the Royal Marine Infirmary until February 1916, when he was appointed principal medical officer to the grand fleet and was attached to HMS Iron Duke as a member of Admiral Jellicoe's staff. In this position he was specially recommended for promotion, for services rendered during the battle of Jutland. He was created CB in 1918 and knighted as KCMG in 1919. During 1919-23 he was Director General of the Royal Naval Medical Service; he was then awarded a good service pension of £100 a year, was advanced to the rank of KCB in 1922, and retired as vice-admiral.

He died on Easter Monday, 18 April 1938, and it was said of him that "he was a most valuable medical officer, possessed of great organizing ability, a capable guide, and a good friend". For his services he received the Order of St Stanislas of Russia, 2nd class, and the American Distinguished Service Medal. He was also a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and an honorary FRCS Edinburgh.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 19 April 1938, p 7d, and 23 April, p 7d, funeral; Lancet, 1938, 1, 91; Brit med J 1938, 1, 980].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England