Robert Irvine Wilson

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:965
  1. James Nixon

Robert Irvine Wilson (“Bob”) was the leading figure in the development of orthopaedic surgery in Northern Ireland. Born in 1915, he was a scholarship pupil at Royal Belfast Academical Institution and later graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1938. He was a house officer in the Royal Victoria Hospital and married Kathleen at this time. After the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps and served from 1940 to 1946. He had a very active service career but was always reticent when talking about it. He was attached to 152 Field Ambulance, part of the Irish Brigade, seeing active service with the 8th Army in North Africa, in the assault on Sicily, and in the long battle for Italy. He was demobilised in Austria with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

His war service was notable: he was awarded the military MBE in 1944 for “gallantry and distinguished services in Italy,” and also wore the Africa Star, the Italy Star, and the 1939-45 Star. Always a modest man, this experience guided him in the direction of orthopaedic surgery.

In 1947 he …

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