Lives of the fellows

Harold Stewart Moore

b.15 January 1923 d.25 August 2013
MBE MB BS Lond(1948) MRCS LRCP(1948) DTM&H(1955) MRCP Edin(1956) MRCP(1956) FRCP Edin(1970) FRCP(1975) OStJ

Major General Harold Stewart Moore (known as ‘Sam’) was director of Army medicine. He was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, the son of George Harold Moore, and was educated at Kingswood School, Bath. In 1939 the entire school was evacuated to Uppingham for the remainder of the war, being boarded out in local hotels. A keen sportsman, he played cricket and rugby for his school, and was in one of the first teams to play in France after the war.

Deciding on a career in medicine, he was interviewed at the London Hospital Medical School, where the only question he was asked was ‘Do you play rugby?’ He went on to play rugby for the London for the next five years. He was also a member of the Home Guard and spent many nights fire watching.

He volunteered for the Army after qualifying in 1948, but, after a ‘spot on his lung’ was noticed, he was told to go to the country. He spent the next two years at Upton Hospital, Slough, as a house physician and then a medical registrar, where he was expected to work six and a half days a week for 10 shillings!

In 1950 he was finally accepted for National Service. With the rank of lieutenant, he was appointed as a medical officer to the Royal Welch Fusiliers and went with the regiment to Jamaica. In 1951 the St Thomas region was hit by a hurricane and Moore helped by giving medical aid wherever it was needed, often travelling on foot. He was awarded an MBE for his service.

Returning to the UK, he was awarded the Alexander Parkes medal for hygiene, the Leishman medal for pathology and the Katherine Webb medal for medicine, and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London and of Edinburgh.

He decided to remain in the Army and accepted a regular commission. A lifelong love of Africa began in 1956 when he was posted to Nigeria. As an honorary consultant to the European and African hospitals and a senior specialist he learnt Hausa and worked tirelessly in local hospitals. He also found time to play rugby and hockey. In 1960 he was posted to Kenya as a consultant to the British Military Hospital in Nairobi and as a consultant to the Kenyatta National Hospital.

Following postings to Germany, Singapore and Colchester, he served at the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot, where he helped cared for General Montgomery. He also conducted research on an Army team preparing to climb Mount Everest, and was awarded the Mitchiner medal for improving training programmes in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

In 1976, with the rank of major general, he became director of medicine for the British Army of the Rhine, where he was part of an international team looking after Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, who was in Spandau Prison, Berlin. He found Hess intelligent and interesting.

In 1981 Moore was appointed director of Army medicine, consultant physician to the Army and an honorary consultant to HM the Queen.

He retired in 1984 to become physician and surgeon to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where he was able to return to his first love of ‘hands on’ medicine. He loved the old soldiers and listened for hours to their stories of service.

In 1990 he retired to continue his lifelong hobby of bird watching and collecting bird stamps, of which he had a very fine collection.

In 1947 he married Elizabeth Joy Wright. The marriage was dissolved and he subsequently married Gwynneth Merrett née James, a nurse. Following multiple strokes he died at home. He was survived by his two sons, a daughter and two stepsons.

Peter Moore

[The Telegraph 6 November 2012]

(Volume XII, page web)

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