Dr William Frankland, MBE, RAMC, allergy scientist pioneer, dies aged 108

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by dbf, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personally, very thankful for his pollen count idea...

    Video in link
    "WATCH: Dr William Frankland: Japanese soldier about to bayonet me"

    Pioneering allergy scientist dies aged 108

    Dr William Frankland, a British immunologist who transformed the world's understanding of allergies, has died aged 108.

    His pioneering work included developing the idea of a pollen count to help hay fever sufferers.

    Dr Frankland, whose medical career spanned 70 years, was known as "the grandfather of allergy".

    As a British army doctor in World War Two, he spent three-and-a-half years in Japanese prisoner of war camps.

    Historian Dan Snow tweeted he would never forget meeting Dr Frankland, who he called "one of the greatest Britons".

    Prof Adam Fox, president of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said he was "an enormous inspiration to many", adding that he would be "sorely missed but very fondly remembered".

    Dr Frankland, known as Bill, gave an interview ahead of his 108th birthday on 19 March, saying his longevity was down to luck.

    He said: "I’ve come close to death so many times – from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, three-and-a-half years spent as a Japanese prisoner of war, to experiencing anaphylaxis following a tropical insect bite – but somehow I’ve always managed to miss it and that's why I’m still here."

    He also revealed that his birthday celebrations were being affected by the coronavirus outbreak as his care home had closed its doors to visitors.

    "My birthday this year will be quite different," he said. "I’ve been given a special request to have two of my children visit for a short while, but they will have to keep at a safe distance."

    Dr Frankland, who was made an MBE in 2015 for his services to allergy research, is survived by four children. His wife Pauline died in 2002.

    Born in Battle, Sussex, in 1912, Dr Frankland grew up in the Lake District. He went on to study medicine at the University of Oxford and worked at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, before World War Two intervened.

    He signed up to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), but spent over three of the six years he spent in the Army as a prisoner of war in Singapore.

    During his 70-year long career in medicine, based mostly at St Mary’s Hospital, he worked for Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.

    His career in immunology began in the 1950s at St Mary's, where he worked with patients who suffered from seasonal hay fever.

    He set up a pollen trap on the roof of the hospital to identify different types of pollen in the air and, along with his team, created a pollen count system that led to daily pollen reports in the media.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    As someone who was almost blind in the summers of the late 60s and still suffer today (indeed especially today - I suffer from all pollens but especialy tree pollens) I'll second that.
  3. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

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    Penrith Observer 12th January 1943
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    Penrith Observer 2nd October 1945
    JimHerriot, Harry Ree and dbf like this.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    BBC Radio 4 - The Reunion, Far East Prisoners of War
    Far East Prisoners of War
    The Reunion

    Sue MacGregor's guests remember their time as Far East POWs during the Second World War.

    Early in the Second World War, the Imperial Japanese made major military advances throughout the Far East. The fall of Singapore in February 1942 resulted in the single largest surrender of British-led military personnel. Winton Churchill called it "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history". In total, the Japanese took 140,000 Allied prisoners, including 67,000 British.

    The prisoners were sent to forced labour camps throughout South-East Asia. The Thailand-Burma Railway is perhaps the best known project, but many more POWs were shipped via "hell ships" to islands like Java and Ambon. The Japanese captors treated the prisoners horrifically, subjecting them to brutal beatings, intense work, starvation, disease and searing heat. Over a quarter of POWs died in the camps.

    Sue MacGregor's guests include:
    Bob Morrell, who remembers his "coffin duty" on the island of Ambon;
    centenarian Bill Frankland, who was a medical officer treating prisoners near Singapore.;
    William Mumby who was shipped throughout the region,
    and Tony Lucas, who was sent to the Thailand-Burma Railway and helped carve "Hellfire Pass".

    Sue is also joined by historian Sibylla Jane Flower who made a special study of Allied prisoners held by the Japanese.

    After the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and V-J Day, the POWs undertook the arduous journey back to Britain. Many were reunited with their families who were unaware of their survival. In the following decades, many former prisoners of war kept quiet about their experiences.

    Producer: Colin McNulty
    Series Producer: David Prest
    A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
    42 minutes
    brithm likes this.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Dr Bill Frankland

    Frequently referred to as the "grandfather of allergy", his achievements include the introduction of the pollen count to the British public and the prediction of increased levels of allergy to penicillin.

    Born in Cumbria in 1912, Dr Frankland turned 103 in March. He studied medicine at Oxford and worked at St Mary's hospital in Paddington, London, before war intervened. He signed up to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), but spent over three of the six years he spent in the army as a prisoner of war in Singapore.

    After the war, he began work in the dermatology department at St Mary's, but quickly switched to allergy which became his passion. During the fifties he served as a registrar to Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin back in 1928. In 1954 he published a seminal research paper about a double-blind randomised trial proving that pre-season pollen injections greatly reduced the symptoms of hay fever sufferers.

    He has treated high profile patients including Saddam Hussein and given evidence in court - possibly the oldest expert witness to do so. He continues to work in a private practice and has remarked, "I really don't know what people do when they retire at 65.".

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