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Biographical entry Morrow, Robert Joseph (1931 - 2016)

MB BCh BAO NUI 1955; FRCS 1966.

9 April 1931
Galway, Ireland
25 June 2016
Lerida, Spain
General surgeon and Naval surgeon


Robert Morrow was a surgeon captain in the Royal Navy. He was born in Galway, studied medicine at University College, Galway, and qualified MB BCh BAO in June 1955.

He moved to work in England in accident and emergency surgery, and orthopaedic and general surgery at the German Hospital in Dalston, London. In September 1958 he joined P&O and started on SS Orontes as the ship's doctor, and that is where he fell in love with the sea. In April 1959 he arrived in Ryde, Isle of Wight, where he worked in the accident and emergency department and as the orthopaedic registrar.

In 1959 he enlisted in the Royal Navy, officially joining in March 1960, with an appointment in Haslar, Hampshire. His naval career was divided between serving as surgeon at Haslar Royal Naval Hospital, and intervals on board ships as doctor and surgeon, including HMS Camperdown, HMS Tyne and HMS Hermes.

His career also included appointments abroad, including Mauritius (January 1967 to September 1969) where, as medical officer in charge, he was asked by a pharmaceutical company to research one of their drugs for bilharzia. As a result, he published an article in the Journal of the Royal Naval Medical Service ('Bilharziasis in Mauritius.' J R Nav Med Serv. 1968 Winter;54[3]:227-31). He then returned to surgical duties at Haslar as a consultant in general surgery.

From May 1971 to November 1972 he served as a surgeon in Malta, and returned to duty at Haslar in 1972, and occasionally in Plymouth too. In 1976 he returned to HMS Hermes as principal medical officer. He was then promoted to senior consultant in surgery and in December 1978 he was made surgeon captain. He retired from the Royal Navy and from surgery in 1982.

In February 1982 he went to work as medical director of the Security Forces Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he stayed until 1984. He returned to Saudi Arabia briefly in 1986, working as a surgeon in Aflaj in the desert interior. Both spells in Saudi Arabia were rich in professional and cultural experiences.

He also served in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary from May 1984 until March 1996 as a ship's doctor, finishing his medical career at sea after 41 years.

Jackie Morrow

The Royal College of Surgeons of England