A wonderful father and son pair of WWI & WWII service medals awarded to Captain R.W MacKenna and his son Colonel (later Brigadier) R.M.B MacKenna R.A.M.C.
This group includes:
- WWI Medal pair to Captain R.W MacKenna, along with matching pair of miniatures. In original card case.
- WWII Medal trio to Colonel R.M.B MacKenna R.A.M.C, including Italy Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-1945. Accompanied by the mounted matching miniatures.
- Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem, on ribbon, housed in Toye, Kenning & Spencer case. Accompanied by mounted matching miniature.
- Order of St John of Jerusalem, mounted along with war medals (some enamel missing from one quadrant), accompanied by mounted miniature and original ticket for the investiture service.
- Other material associated to R.M.B MacKenna including photograph, American Dermatological Association Medal, Governors charge of office document for St Bartholomew Hospital, embossed leather folder and various military buttons and badges.
'Robert Merttins Bird MacKenna-Mac-was born in Liverpool in 1903. Both his parents were graduates in medicine of Edinburgh University; from 1907 his father specialised in dermatology and venereology. As a boy Mac wanted to be a sailor, and he won a naval cadetship to the Royal Naval College, Osborne, in 1917. He was very happy in the navy, but his father expected correctly that after the war promotion for junior officers would be difficult, so he retired in 1919 and took steps to becomc a medical student. For about a year he attended classes at Liverpool University before moving to Clare College, Cambridge, where he took the natural sciences tripos in 1924. He then moved to St Thomas's Hospital, qualifying with the conjoint examination in 1926. He married in 1927 and obtained the MB, BChir and MRCP in 1928. During his last two years at St Thomas's he worked as a junior medical officer in the venereology department and as clinical assistant to Dr S E Dore in the skin department. He was also one of Dr Dore's assistants at St John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin. When both his parents became gravely ill Mac, being an only child, thought it his duty to return to Liverpool. In 1928 he was fortunate to obtain a post as medical officer in charge of the male venereology department in Liverpool's Stanley Hospital; he also worked as assistant to his father in private practice and, when his father died in 1930, retained some of the practice. In 1936 he resigned from the Stanley Hospital (by then he was also honorary dermatologist there) and was appointed honorary dermatologist to the Royal Southern Hospital. On the outbreak of war Mac became a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps based at the military hospital at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire, where he was given charge of the male venereology cases; he was also made responsible for a skin ward of 30-40 beds. In the early days there was a great shortage of essential equipment and drugs, these apparently having been taken to supplement the deficiencies of the medical unit sent from Catterick to the continent at the outbreak of war. For this and several other reasons Mac always thought of his period in Catterick as pretty tough. In 1940 he was gazetted major and, appointed command specialist, encouraged to travel extensively throughout the area of Northern Command, his duties being to ensure that the standards of work in his specialties were as high as possible. In 1941 he ws elected FRCP. In 1943 he became War Office consultant in dermatology, a promotion that carried with it the rank of acting colonel: local brigadier. He was very proud of this appointment, which he retained until 1964. In this capacity he visited many medical centres abroad during the war. One action that he undertook in 1945 was to call on the permanent secretary of the BMA. His military experience had taught him that a small specialty like dermatology was severely handicapped in political, financial, and other ways because there was no outside body specifically interested in supporting its concerns. The probable advent of the NHS confirmed the advisability of having such a body. He was surprised by and grateful for the sympathy he received from the association: a dermatological group (panel) was rapidly set up (he was the first chairman) and was later incorporated in the Central Committee for Hospital Medical Services. It achieved much more for dermatologists than many of them realise. Now there is also a dermatological committee of the Royal College of Physicians, so this group is well served. On demobilisation in 1945 Mac returned to Liverpool, reopened his practice, and resumed his hospital duties; but within a month A C Roxburgh wrote to suggest that, as he was retiring, Mac should apply for his appointment as physician in charge of the skin department at St Bartholomew's Hospital. He was duly appointed and settled down happily. He transferred his practice to London and within a few years was a member of the staff of King Edward VII Hospital for Officers and also of St John's Hospital for Diseases of the Skin. The governors of Barts increased the complement of the skin department to allow the appointment of a part time psychiatrist, while the governors of the medical college arranged for the attachment of a biochemist. These appointments enabled Mac to emphasise his strongly held belief that ancillary specialists in a specialised clinical department should mix freely with the clinicians there and understand fully their points of view; ideally they should be an integral part of the team and not just outside experts called in to see if possibly they could solve some problem that had arisen during the investigation of a case. This theory worked well with psychiatrists, but biochemists often considered that they were wasting their time. In 1952 Mac had the onerous appointment of academic secretary at the tenth international congress of dermatology, held in London. He was president of the dermatological section at the annual meeting of the BMA in 1953 and, in 1955, a president of the same section at a joint meeting in Toronto of the Canadian, Ontario, and British Medical Associations. At the Royal College of Physicians of London he was a councillor (1956-8), Watson Smith lecturer (1957), and an examiner (1964-70). In 1966-7 he was president of the dermatological section of the Royal Society of Medicine, and, in 1967 president of the British Association of Dermatology. He was an honorary member of many dermatological societies abroad. Mac wrote many papers for journals and also several books on dermatology and was editor of Modern Trends in Dermatology, which rapidly gained an international reputation. Mac died on November 12th 1984, the day before his 81st birthday.'