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With the death of Robbie Morton on 4 May 2002, 2 months before his 85th birthday, we have lost one of the major influences that helped to shape venereology as a discipline during the post-war period who was instrumental in attracting many doctors into the specialty. Although small in physical stature, he had immense drive and a dynamic personality allied to great communication skills that endeared him to his colleagues and students.
Robbie was born on 5 July 1917 and brought up in Glasgow, where he attended Hutcheson’s Grammar School for Boys. He qualified from medical school in Glasgow in 1939. With call up to the services inevitable at the time of his qualification, he decided that 6 months in general practice would be more relevant than a house appointment. He spent the next 6 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Most of his time was spent in the surgical division with special responsibilities for blood transfusion and resuscitation, but he also spent 6 months each in venereology and infectious diseases. He spent over 3 years serving in the Middle East and was awarded the MBE for distinguished service in Greece and Crete in 1942 at the age of 24. Subsequently, he was attached to a district hospital in South Wales, before the Normandy invasion, where he met his future wife, Peggy. They worked together in Europe and married in 1945. Their marriage and family life was the rock upon which all of his later success was based.
After leaving the services, Robbie returned to Glasgow for a refresher course as a supernumerary medical registrar, and decided upon a career in venereology. He trained in Newcastle upon Tyne, then one of the largest and most progressive provincial units in the post-war years. Basil Schofield was a contemporary. He was …