Lives of the fellows

Robert Oswald Moon

b.17 March 1865 d.28 July 1953
BA Oxon BM BCh(1899) MA DM MRCS FRCP(1909)

R. O. Moon was born in London, the youngest son of Robert Moon, barrister. He went to school at Winchester and read Greats at New College, Oxford, with the idea of entering the diplomatic service. He turned, however, to medicine and accordingly entered Guy’s Hospital as a student. After qualifying in 1896 he joined the Phil-Hellenic Legion as a surgeon and served in the Graeco-Turkish War of 1897. Having returned to take his B.M, B.Ch, degrees in 1899, he took part in the South African War, first as a trooper in the Hampshire Yeomanry, and then as a civil surgeon with the field force.

On settling at last in civilian life, Moon became a clinical assistant at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic and at the Hospital for Sick Children. He then decided to practise as a consultant in diseases of the heart and was elected to the staffs of the National Hospital for Diseases of the Heart, the Royal Waterloo Hospital and the Western General Dispensary. He wrote two works on cardiology, The Prognosis and Treatment of Diseases of the Heart (1912) and The Growth of Our Knowledge of Heart Disease (1927). He saw active service again during the First World War, proceeding to Serbia in 1915 as medical officer to Lady Paget’s Hospital at Skoplje; he contracted typhus there, was invalided home, and spent the remainder of the War as a major in the R.A.M.C. In the Second World War, despite his advanced age, he was accepted as a medical volunteer for the expedition to Finland, planned in 1941 but abandoned.

Moon’s interest in medicine extended beyond the practical aspect to the philosophical, and he was the author of books on The Relation of Medicine to Philosophy (1909) and Medicine and Mysticism (1934). In his FitzPatrick Lectures of 1921-22 he discussed Hippocrates and his successors. A linguist, he published translations of Goethe’s Dichtung und Wahrheit (1932) and of the autobiography of Goethe’s friend Jung-Stilling (1938). Moon held officers Assistant Registrar of the Royal College of Physicians from 1926 to 1933.

Politics also attracted him and he stood unsuccessfully for Parliament on five occasions — as Liberal candidate for Marylebone twice (1910), for Wimbledon once (1922) and for Oxford City twice (1924, 1929). Moon’s physical and mental toughness were belied by his appearance, which was described by a friend as that of a "trim, white-bearded, rather short little man" with "large gentle-looking blue eyes". He married Ethel, daughter of General Waddington, and had one son and four daughters. He died at Wallingford.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1953; B.M.J., 1953; Times, 30 July 1953]

(Volume IV, page 503)

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