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Mullins, Michael Robert

The news of the tragic death of “ Mike” Mullins from pneumonia, contracted whilst on active service in Italy, came as a great shock to his many friends at Guy’ s.

A member of a well-known South African family of Guy’ s men. “ Mike” came to Guy’ s from Trinity College, Oxford at the outbreak of war in 1939. He at once established himself with contemporaries and seniors alike as one of the most popular figures in the Hospital. Good at his work, outstanding at sport, and possessed of all the qualities most valued among men, the reasons for his popularity were not far to seek. As a student his diligence ability and loyalty made him an ideal ward clerk and dresser; and his unfailing cheeriness, good humour and sportsmanship made him an indispensable member of all gatherings. The honour and pleasure of being associated with him both at work and play will be a prized remembrance of all his friends.

Born with football in his blood, Mullins entered Guy’ s as a regular member of the Oxford University XV; an unfortunate injury had prevented him playing in the all-important Varsity match in 1939, the last year before the War in which “ Blues” were awarded. He played his first game for Guy’ s in October, 1939, and continued to play regularly for four years. He became honorary secretary in 1940-41 and received the coveted honour of captaincy thus following faithfully in the footsteps of his father (R. C.), who was captain from 1898-1900, and of his uncle (H. R.) who led the side in 1909-10. The family tradition was further maintained by his playing for the Barbarians for two years in succession. He was also captain of the United Hospitals and of a representative London R.U. XV. In peacetime international honours might easily have come his way.

“ Mike will be remembered for many things on the football field. As captain he was an inspiring leader and of immense value as a team builder, and during his year of office the Guy’ s XV had its most successful war-time season. Individually he was an outstanding wing forward and place-kicker; in all he played sixty-nine games for Guy’ s, scoring 8 tries, 32 penalty goals and 61 placed goals. To single out any particular performance from such a brilliant career is almost invidious, but undoubtedly he played the game of his life against the powerful St. Mary side at Honor Oak Park in 1942. This will always be known as “ Mullins’ match” by Guy’ s men, for he completely and successfully and successfully “ shadowed” the notorious Tommy Kemp and prevented that star international ever getting his three-quarters moving. Kemp tried every trick he knew, but Mullins was always a move ahead, and in the end he kicked a penalty goal to give Guy’ s a 10-6 win in a thrilling game.

Mullins qualified B.M. B.Ch.(Oxon.) in June 1942. He was then appointed house-officer in the E.M.S. and served in the County Hospital, Pembury, as house-physician to Dr. Osman and Dr. Jacoby; and was resident obstetrician to Mr. Chapple until January, 1943. At Pembury his popularity was as great as at Guy’ s and his success as a house-officer was evident to all with whom he worked. In 1942 he married Doreen Levy and on completion ogf his house appointments, he returned with his wife to South Africa in February, 1943. He was one of the first South Africans from Guy’ s so to return, and that he should do so at the height of U-boat warfare in order to join the Services of his mother country is typical of his courage and sense of duty. Shortly after being granted a commission in the S.A.M.C. he volunteered for service abroad and, under the rigorous conditions of an Italian winter, met his untimely death. Our sympathy goes out to his wife and infant son, and to his mother, in the tragedy of their irreparable loss.

S .H. W.

AN APPRECIATION.

All of us at Guy’ s who knew M. R. Mullins have heard of his death on active service with very great regret. This is no stereotyped phrase, he was too sincere a man for that. I well remember the first day I saw him; it was obvious who he was – here was a man.

Later he was a dresser of mine and then became my resident officer at Pembury. He was one of that band of all-rounders of Guy’ s men that have made the name of Guy’ s stand high. He was not only a great athlete, but a great personality. He sought favours from no one, he had no need to, they were offered to him. For our part then, we offer our sincerest condolences to his people and his widow. It may help them in their sorrow to know that Guy’ s feels it is the poorer for the loss of him. Would that we had many more like him!

H. C.

Guy’ s Obituaries

Biographical

Surname(s)Mullins
First name(s)Michael Robert
Date of birth22 July 1916
Family detailsSon of Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Mullins; husband of Doreen Mullins, of Highlands Rail, Cape Province, South Africa.
Previous educationSt. Andrew’ s College, Grahamstown, South Africa; Trinity College, Oxford
CollegeGuy's Hospital
Dates at college1938-1942
Dept / courseClinical Oxford B.M.
QualificationsB.A.; B.M., B.Ch.(Oxon) 1942
Military unitSouth African Medical Corps
Service number544861V
War / conflictWorld War Two (1939-1945)
Date of death26 December 1944
Age at death28
Rank at deathCaptain
Cause of deathPneumonia
Burial placeBari War Cemetery
Commemoration(s)Guy’ s War Memorial
SourcesGuy’ s Hospital Medical School Records, King’ s College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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