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Biographical entry Murray, Robert William (1860 - 1940)

OBE 1920; MRCS 28 April 1884; FRCS 12 December 1889; LRCP 1885; DL Co Lancs.

18 November 1860
Wellington, New Zealand
14 July 1940
Paediatric surgeon


Born 18 November 1860 at Wellington, New Zealand, the eldest son of Stewart Murray, a bank manager, and Louisa Bourne, his wife. He was educated at Sydney Grammar School, New South Wales, and afterwards privately in Edinburgh. He then came to London, entered Guy's Hospital School of Medicine and was elected, after he had qualified, an assistant house surgeon to the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital. His term of office ended, he was appointed resident medical officer to the Children's Hospital, Pendlebury. From this time onwards he devoted himself mainly to the surgical treatment of children's diseases, although as surgeon to the Liverpool Southern Hospital he took his share of general surgical work. He was for many years surgeon to the Children's Infirmary at Liverpool, and made his name more particularly by his skill in operating upon patients with hare lip, cleft palate, and hernia.

Having joined the Territorial Force with a commission as captain à la suite, RAMC on 7 July 1908, he was called up for service on the declaration of war in August 1914 and was attached, with the rank of major, to the First Western General Hospital. Here he did much good surgical work and was decorated OBE on demobilization in 1919. He did not resume his private practice, but acted subsequently under the Ministry of Pensions as surgical deputy commissioner of medical services for the North-Western region of England.

He married Helen Rohde on 10 October 1915; she survived him. He died at 11 Green Hills Road, Cheltenham on 14 July 1940. Murray was well suited for the part he played during his active professional life. He was a great lover of children, and as an operator he treated their tissues with the greatest delicacy. It was said of him that "he was a good team man who would work with anyone to achieve something that needed doing". He was a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Lancashire.


Hare lip and cleft palate. London, 1902.
Hernia: its cause and treatment. London 1908; 2nd edition 1910.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1940, 2, 116 and 180; Brit med J 1940, 2, 135; information given by Mrs Murray].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England Library