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Biographical entry Stephens, Horace Elliot Rose (1883 - 1959)

OBE 1919; Croix de Guerre 1917; MRCS and FRCS 9 December 1920; MB BS London 1907; DPH Manchester 1917.

4 January 1883
18 February 1959
Naval surgeon


Born on 4 January 1883 the son of the Rev Horace Stephens, Rector of Handley, Cheshire, he was educated at Christ College, Brecon, Manchester University and, for his postgraduate studies, the London Hospital. While at Manchester he played Rugby for the University and also represented Cheshire and Lancashire. He obtained a prize for clinical medicine while a student at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where after qualification he served as house surgeon. For a time he acted as junior demonstrator of anatomy at Manchester University. In 1910 he joined the Royal Navy as a surgeon and in August 1914 was appointed to HMS Eclipse, in April 1915 transferring to the battlecruiser Lion, Admiral Beatty's flagship at the Battle of Jutland, after which Stephens was commended for his services, becoming staff surgeon in 1916, and in 1921 being appointed to the RN Hospital, Plymouth as operating surgeon.

In 1920 he visited the United States at his own expense and, as a result of this visit, he became a personal friend of the Mayo brothers. In 1922 he was promoted Surgeon-Commander and in 1932 Surgeon-Captain.

At various times he served on the Atlantic, Mediterranean, China, North America and West Indies stations and at Haslar, Devonport and Chatham Hospitals.

After a period of illness in 1935, he became Professor of Naval Hygiene and Director of Medical Studies at the RN medical school at Greenwich. He was promoted Surgeon-Rear-Admiral in 1939 and appointed to the RN Auxiliary Hospital at Kingseat, retiring on 4 January 1943.

He was President of the United Services Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1933, giving an address on "The Influence of Wars on the Craft of Surgery".

He was the author of numerous papers in particular "Surgical Experiences at the Battle of Jutland", and he contributed to Keen's American Textbook of Surgery with an article on surgery in fighting ships.

He married in 1911 Frances Mary Butt by whom he had a son and a daughter, Mary, who married Surgeon-Rear-Admiral R W Mussen.

Stephens retired to Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, where he was a keen golfer, and died on 18 February 1959 survived by his wife and two children.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 19 February 1959 p 12 e; Brit med J 1959, 1, 724].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England