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Moynihan House, St George’s Bay

It has been announced that there is an application to demolish Moynihan House in St George’s Bay. The building is named after two prominent British men who lived there – Captain Andrew Moynihan, an outstandingly brave soldier, and his son, 1st Baron Sir Berkeley Moynihan, a prominent British surgeon. In 1969, the Moynihan Chirurgical Club mounted a plaque at the house to commemorate them.

Andrew Moynihan (1830-1867) was born in Yorkshire and enlisted in the 90th Regiment of Perthshire Volunteers at the age of 17. He married Ellen Parkin, aged 23, and in 1854 he was sent to fight the Russians in the Crimean War. On September 8, 1855, Sergeant Moynihan took part in the attack of the Redan Fortress at Sebas­topol. Under heavy Russian fire he entered a building to save an officer, he was captured but escaped. By the end of the day he had killed five Russians, received 12 wounds and saved Lieutenant Swift and Ensign Maude.

He returned to a hero’s welcome and was awarded the Victoria Cross by the Queen on June 28, 1857, in Hyde Park, London. Moynihan later served in Ireland, India, Gibraltar and Malta, having been promoted to captain. He died in Floriana, aged 37, probably from brucellosis, and is buried at Ta’ Braxia cemetery. After he died, Ms Moynihan took her two daughters and son to the UK in December 1867 and settled in Leeds.

Berkeley George Andrew Moynihan (1865-1936) was born in Malta and moved to Leeds when he was two. He studied at Leeds Medical School and later trained to become a surgeon and received the Gold medal for his MS degree. He was professor of surgery from 1909 to 1927 and he was elected president of the College of Surgeons from 1926 to 1931. He served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War I and was demobilised with the rank of major general.

Moynihan was a brilliant and bold operator and believed in handling tissues of the body gently – ‘caressing them’. He was the first surgeon to wear rubber gloves when operating and he used green drapes, which were kinder to the surgeon’s eyes under the bright operating lights.

Moynihan realised the importance of surgeons visiting other surgeons and he established a small visiting club which still exists as the Moynihan Chirurgical Club. He was knighted and elevated to the peerage as the first Baron Moynihan.

Mepa should seriously consider scheduling and protecting Moynihan House from destruction.

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