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|James Mouat was born on 14 April 1815, at Chatham, Kent, the son of Surgeon James Mouat MD who was medical officer to the 23rd, 25th, 21st, 16th,13th, F., 4th and 15th Dragoons. His uncle was Dr F.J. Mouat distinguished in the Indian Civil Medical Service. James Mouat, the son, was educated at University College Hospital, London, became MRCS in 1837, and proceeded FRCS in 1852. One year after qualification he joined the 44th Regiment of Foot as Assistant Surgeon.Ten years later he was promoted Surgeon and served throughout the Crimean Campaign with the 6th Dragoons, where he was also in charge of the General Field Hospital of the 3rd Division. He was present at the Fall of Sebastopol, the Battles of Tehernaya and Inkerman, and at the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava his gallantry resulted in the award of the Victoria Cross: Date of act of Bravery: 26th Oct 1854. For having voluntarily proceeded to the assistance of Lieut. Colonel Morris, C>B, 17th Lancers, who was lying dangerously wounded in an exposed position after the retreat of Light Cavalry at the Battle of Balaklava, and having dressed the officer's wounds in the presence and under a heavy fire of the enemy. Thus by stopping a severe haemorrhage, he assisted in saving that officer's life. |
During the campaign Surgeon Mouat was appointed to the French Legion of Honour, and gained the Crimean Medal with three clasps. In 1855 he was promoted Surgeon Major, and a year later was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Bath. Aged 43 he was given the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals whilst serving in Turkey.From 1860 to 1861 and again from 1863 to 1865 he served in New Zealand in the Maori Wars, during the latter campaign as Inspector General of Hospitals, being promoted to Surgeon General in 1864. The New Zealand government voted him special thanks for his valuable Services to the Colony, he was mentioned in despatches and was awarded the campaign medal.
Surgeon General Mouat retired in 1876, was appointed an honourary Surgeon to the Queen in 1888, and a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1894. The British Medical Journal obituary of 1899 described this officer's character: One who served under Sir James and knew him well, furnishes the following reminiscences of him: 'There never was a more thoroughly soldierly medical officer than Mouat; he was always faultlessly dressed, whether in uniform or in mufti; nothing annoyed him more than slovenly or shabby attire, especially among medical officers. He had a very sharp tongue, and as he usually got hold of the right end of an argument, was formidable in dispute. As he set no small value on himself or his military position, he always kept up considerable style, and was the only senior medical officer the writer can recall who made his camp inspections in a well-appointed carriage and pair. Sir James Mouat was held in deserved respect by all branches of the service; and in private life was an attached and sincere friend of those who won his esteem'. Text supplied by Royal Army Medical Corps Historical Museum.