183138 Captain Robert Mitchell
MB ChB BSc MFCM DPH
1905 [Hawick] — 10 May 1990
Captain Robert Mitchell studied engineering, became a local councillor and borough treasurer, and declined an invitation to stand for parliament before going to Edinburgh University to study for a BSc in Chemistry in 1928. In 1933, he graduated in medicine and obtained his MB ChB.
During the Second World War, Robert Mitchell served in Royal Army Medical Corps, where he was responsible for public health in Malta and later served in Sicily where he was mentioned in despatches.
In 1953, Robert Mitchell became a Medical Officer of Health for Burton on Trent. He was previously an Assistant Medical Officer of Health for Oldham at a time of serious staff shortages. During the next twenty years he developed staff and services considerably. Having himself had poliomyelitis, he was especially concerned with preventing this disease and was responsible for an unpopular closure of all leisure activities in and on the Trent after securing the ministry's help over inadequate cooperation from the local council. The immunisation figures rose, and he was singular in resisting strong pressure for too early use of the Salk vaccine until adequate safety standards had been established. He succeeded in persuading the local authority to build and develop excellent adult training and mental welfare centres.
Dr Mitchell was rarely met outside his work and never went away on holiday. His hobbies included horology and all do it yourself activities at his home: any local plumber, electrician, or builder called in always learnt far more than he expected. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge. After 40 years with Dorothea, his younger sister and only relative, he was desolated by her death. Afterwards he pacified his active mind by regular visits to the library at Burton Graduate Medical Centre.
24 July 1941 Arrived from England. Attached to 161 (East Anglian) Field Ambulance.
7 Oct 1941 Ceased to be attached to 161st (EA) Fld Amb. Transferred as Regimental Medical Officer to 2nd/Royal West Kent Regiment.
7 Apr 1942 Regimental Medical Officer to 2nd/Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
6 June 1943 Was taken on the War Establishment of 15th Independent Brigade Group Field Ambulance.
20 Oct 1943 Posted 30 Coy RAMC, surplus to establishment. Performed area duties under SMO Malta.
1 Mar 1944 Joined No 45 GH from SMO Malta.
- TNA:WO 177/700, War Diaries No 15th Field Ambulance RAMC April 1941 to April 1944.
- TNA:WO 177/751, War Diaries No 161st (East Anglian) Field Ambulance RAMC September 1939 to September 1943.
- TNA:WO 177/1886, War Diaries 30th Coy RAMC 1 January 1943 to 30 June 1946.
- Obituary R Mitchell BSc MFCM DPH Br Med J (1990); 301:813 (Published 6 October 1990).
- TNA:WO 177/1287, War Diaries No 45 General Hospital May 1941 to April 1946.