A RM Commando from Templepatrick was killed during operations in Italy in WW2. Veterans remembered today include Robert Mussen, RN. The Surgeon Rear Admiral from Bangor, Campbell College, and QUB, was on attachment to the surgeon general of the United States Navy in Washington DC in WW2. In this prestigious appointment, he forged the most valuable links between the RN medical service and the USN medical service. Photo – Rome War Cemetery
Representing their comrades who died on this day
+KEOWN, Frederick James
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1079113. Died 03/02/1943. Aged 22. Family memorial states died on active service. Son of Frederick and Margaret Matilda Keown. Dundonald cemetery
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1494278. Died 03/02/1944. Aged 25. Son of Robert and Sarah Mawhinney, of Belfast. Oxford (Botley) Cemetery
RM. Corporal. PLY/X 101290. 43 RM. Commando. MiD London Gazette 23/01/1940 ‘for outstanding services while operating with the Allied Armies in Italy’. Died 03/02/1944. Age: 22. Cpl. McCaughey was killed during operations in Italy. At the time of his death his Commando were engaged in fighting at Monte Ornito and Monte Faito, Italy. Son of Henry and Jane McCaughey, Templepatrick. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 102. Ballynure Presbyterian Church WM
RAFVR. Sergeant (Flight Engineer).1037806. Died 03/02/1945. Aged 21. 419 (R.C.A.F.) Sqdn. Son of Vernor and May McAfee, of Lisburn. Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
+KAVANAGH, Leo Ambrose
Royal Artillery. Gunner.146000. Died 03/02/1946. Aged 42. 24 Battery, 9 H.A.A. Regt. Son of Edward and Catherine Kavanagh; Husband of Elizabeth Kavanagh of Londonderry.
MUSSEN, Robert Walsh
RN. Surgeon Rear Admiral. CBE(1949) CB(1945) MRCS LRCP(1922) MB ChB BAO(1922) MRCP(1935) FRCP(1949). Entered the Royal Navy in 1922. His early years in the Navy were spent at sea and he had a number of foreign commissions: the East Indies, the Persian Gulf, and twice in the Mediterranean. His ships included HMS Birmingham 1923, Dido 1926, Danae and Calliope 1928, Shropshire 1937-37, Malaya, Barham, and Hood in 1938-39, as squadron medical officer. Served extensive periods in RN Hospitals and by attachment to Charing Cross Hospital, with the opportunity to obtain his MD and MRCP.
In 1939 he was appointed to the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar as the medical specialist and remained there during the early years of the war. In 1942 he was selected for a newly created wartime job with attachment to the surgeon general of the United States Navy in Washington DC. In this prestigious appointment he forged most valuable links between the RN medical service and the USN medical service; not only did his work prove invaluable to both navies during the war but it also established a special relationship with the United States Medical Service which continued after the end of hostilities. He was made a surgeon captain (acting) in 1943 and was confirmed in this rank in 1944.
In 1945 he took over as medical officer in charge, RN Medical School, Clevedon, Somerset. Later he moved this establishment to Alverstoke; it became the Institute of Naval Medicine and it always gave him great satisfaction throughout his later years to know that he had laid the foundation for this Institute, which does so much to support the modern Navy in teaching, training, and research.
Robert Mussen was promoted to surgeon rear admiral in 1952, for duty as the medical officer in charge RNH Chatham and as command medical officer on the staff of commander-in-chief Nore. This was a very happy period, not only for him and his family but for all who served in this hospital. He maintained high standards himself and expected the same of others, in whom he inspired admiration and loyalty.
In 1932, at RNH Chatham, Robert Mussen married Mary, daughter of Surg. Rear Admiral and Mrs. HER Stephens. They had three children who married and lived in England.
On retirement from the Navy in 1955 he was pressed to stand as the MP for County Down but finally settled for a second career with the Ministry of Health where he had a special interest in polio cases and the provision of respirators. He retired from the Ministry in 1965. In retirement he wrote his autobiography The Story of a Naval doctor, 1983, and was involved in local government, being chairman of Chailey Rural District Council 1972-74.
Robert Mussen, who retired from the Royal Navy as a surgeon rear admiral, was the son of a distinguished Ulster solicitor and was brought up at Bangor, County Down. After attending Campbell College, Belfast, he received his medical education at Queen’s University, Belfast, and Charing Cross Hospital, London. Born in 03/05/1900. Son of HH Mussen, Princetown Road, Bangor. Campbell College 1248
RAF. Aircraftsman. He volunteered for active service in September 1918. Dan (junior) was born on 30/08/1899. Son of Mr. Daniel (building contractor) and Mrs. Margaret Ann (nee McIlreavy) Reid, Heathmount, Portstewart. He was one of the first secretaries of the local branch of the Royal British Legion and was awarded the Gold Badge of the Legion about 1965. In 1940 he was appointed Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Portstewart. Dan (junior) was living at Heathmount when he died on 03/02/1967 and he was buried in Agherton Cemetery. He is commemorated on Portstewart Presbyterian Church’s Roll of Honour & the Roll of Honour of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. (Coleraine Chronicle of 21/09/1918).
This day in 03/02/1933 – Hitler directs his generals to plan for the “ruthless Germanisation” of Eastern Europe. His long-standing goal of achieving ‘Lebensraum’ or ‘Living Space’ will now be the official foreign policy of Nazi Germany.
This day in 03/02/1940 – Flight Lt. Townsend in a Hurricane of No. 43 Squadron RAF shot down a German Heinkel He 111, which crashed at Whitby, North Yorkshire. It was the first enemy aircraft to be brought down on English soil in the war.
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