Lives of the fellows

Mark Andrew Rugg-Gunn

b.2 August 1908 d.7 March 1988
BA Cantab(1930) MRCS LRCP(1933) MA MB BChir(1934) MRCP(1940) MD(1947) FRCP(1958)

Mark Rugg-Gunn was born in Ullapool. His father, Andrew Rugg-Gunn, then in general practice was later to become an eminent ophthalmic surgeon. His mother, Gertrude Martha Smith, was the daughter of a business man.

Mark was educated at Sherborne, St John’s College, Cambridge, and St George’s Hospital - winning the Thompson medal for medicine in 1932. He qualified in 1933 and joined the Royal Navy the next year, serving in HM ships Challenger, Repulse and Vasna. He gained his membership of the College in 1940 and his doctorate in 1947, writing his thesis on nutritional neuropathy in prisoners of war returning from Japanese custody. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1958.

As a physician his career centred on the naval hospitals and he served in Chatham, Haslar, Plymouth, Malta and Trinomalee. His skills as a physician were notable for an encyclopaedic knowledge of general medicine and a capacity for penetrating analysis of the difficult clinical problem. He contributed a number of articles on various subjects to scientific journals.

When he retired from the Royal Navy, as a surgeon-captain, he was appointed senior medical adviser at May & Baker Ltd. He retired from industry in 1975 and worked for a time with the National Blood Transfusion Service, and he was still working on disability pension assessments until shortly before his death.

Mark Rugg-Gunn had many interests outside his chosen profession. He was a good linguist, fluent in Gaelic and Urdu and with a sound knowledge of French, Latin and Greek. He was immensely proud of his Scottish ancestry and was the author of a history of the Clan Gunn, published in 1982, and an enthusiastic bagpiper. His conversation was always erudite and wide-ranging and his reminiscences, particularly of naval life, highly entertaining.

Mark married twice, first in 1934 Hilda (Jill) Rowell who died in 1951, and subsequently Patricia Cowan, a naval nursing sister, who survived him together with five children and 10 grandchildren. Two of his children entered the medical profession, and one grandchild.

Surg. Vice Admiral GJ Milton-Thompson

[Brit.med.J., 1988,296,1204]

(Volume VIII, page 426)

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