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Biographical entry Mason, Robert Paul Scott (1893 - 1956)

MC 1917; MRCS 13 May 1915; FRCS 9 June 1921; LRCP 1915.

1 May 1893
3 May 1956
Lapsworth, Warwickshire
General surgeon


Born on 1 May 1893, the son of an Instructor Captain in the Royal Navy and his French wife, he was born at Brest and spent his infancy in Japan, with the result that he could speak Japanese before he could speak English. Educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and the Middlesex Hospital, he qualified in 1915 and joined the Army immediately. As a medical officer in the 18th Division in France he saw very hard service, and in 1917 was awarded the Military Cross at Zillebeke, while the Division was fighting in an area drenched with mustard gas, the ill effects of which were with him for the rest of his life.

Returning to the Middlesex Hospital after the war, he became house surgeon to Gordon-Taylor, and in 1921 was appointed resident surgical officer at Bradford General Infirmary and later at Birmingham General Hospital, the larger of the two teaching hospitals, first as resident surgical officer and then as surgical registrar. In 1925, on the retirement of Albert Lucas, he was appointed assistant surgeon under H H Sampson at the General Hospital and also to the Children's Hospital. After the amalgamation of the hospitals he was surgeon to the United Hospitals and consulting surgeon to Walsall, Tamworth, and Sutton Coldfield Hospitals. During the war of 1939-45 he was commandant of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and chairman of the board of clinical studies.

At the College he was a member of the Court of Examiners 1945-51 and of the Council from 1946 until his death as Vice-President in 1956.

A shrewd, sound general surgeon he was interested particularly in abdominal and thoracic surgery, in which latter branch he was a pioneer. As a teacher he was most helpful in training young surgeons, but he wrote little and shunned publicity. In spite of this he enjoyed the confidence and esteem of all who knew him as shown by the fact that he was President of the Moynihan Club at the time of his death. He bore his last lingering illness with great courage and fortitude, continuing with all his clinical and administrative activities up to the end.

He married Dr Helen Fox, an anaesthetist, and they had two sons and a daughter. He died on 3 May 1956 at his home in Lapsworth, Warwickshire aged 63.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 4 May 1956; Brit med J 1956 1, 1113 with appreciation by F A R Stammers; Lancet 1956, 1, 756 with portrait and appreciation by BNB; Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl 1956, 18, 398-400 with portrait and appreciation by F A R Stammers; Birmingham Post 4 May 1956 p 5 c-d].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England