Marc Armand Ruffer

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Marc Armand Ruffer

Sir Marc Armand Ruffer CMG (1859,[citation needed][1] Lyon,France – 15 April 1917, Greece) was an Anglo-German experimental pathologist and bacteriologist. He is considered a pioneer of modern paleopathology.


He was the son of German banker Baron Alphonse Jacques Ruffer and his German wife Caroline, who were resident in Switzerland at time of his own death.[2] Ruffer married Alice Mary Greenfield in 1890 and had three children.


He studied at Brasenose College, Oxford, University College London and the Pasteur Institute in Paris.


In 1891 he was appointed the first director of the British Institute of Preventive Medicine, latterly the Lister Institute.

Moving to Egypt for health reasons, Ruffer was appointed a professor of bacteriology at the The Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University in 1896, later taking roles on committees dealing with health, disease, and sanitation. In Egypt he worked on the histology of mummies publishing his findings and helping to establish the field of palaeopathology.

Ruffer was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1905[3] and knighted in 1916.[4] He also received the Grand Cross of the Ottoman Orders of Osmanieh and the Medjidie, the Order of the Redeemer (2nd class) of Greece, and was Commander (2nd class) in the Order of St Anne of Russia and the Crown of Italy.[3]

He went to Greece during the First World War in capacity as Commissioner of the British Red Cross Society to improve sanitation. Returning to Egypt on board the ship SS Arcadian[5] on 15 April 1917, he was lost at sea when the ship was torpedoed off the Greek coast without warning by the German submarine UC-74 with the loss of 279 lives, 35 of which were crew.

His body was never recovered from the sea. After research by the In From The Cold Project, he was accepted on 17 September 2016 for commemoration by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on their Mikra Memorial in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, Greece, to those who have no known grave.[2][6]


  1. ^ Currently his death age is not given on the CWGC Debt of Honour Register entry, but in the In From The Cold Project website a death age of 54 years is stated, indicating a birth year of 1862/63.
  2. ^ a b [1] CWGC Casualty record, Sir Marc Armand Ruffer.
  3. ^ a b Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1916. Kelly's. p. 1283. 
  4. ^ His CWGC casualty record (belatedly added 2016) gives KCMG as his postnominal, although reference books published in his lifetime like Who's Who and Kelly's Handbook indicate it was a knight bachelor award (abbreviated kt.)
  5. ^ "S.S.Arcadian at the Roll of Honour website". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2015-05-11.  In From The Cold Project casualty record.