Dr A W (Bill) Frankland 1912-2020 - BSACI

Dr A W (Bill) Frankland 1912-2020

Dr Frankland was born in 1912. He initially read medicine at the Queens College Oxford before qualifying in 1938 at St Marys Hospital London. In 1939 he was mobilised, appointed as medical officer to the Warwickshire Regiment and then sent to the Far East, where he became a medical officer in charge of Tanglin Military Hospital, Singapore. In February 1942 he was captured at the Fall of Singapore and spent three and half years as a prisoner of war, mostly in the infamous Changi Gaol, where he tended the sick, regardless of nationality, his patients including British, Australian, Indian and even Japanese service personnel. Such was his reputation, especially in the treatment of dysentery, diphtheria and malaria, that even local civilians sought his expert opinion. Despite suffering such appalling privation while a POW, Dr Frankland bears no malice towards his erstwhile captor, but sees this as part of his life’s pattern.

Early in his medical career, Dr Frankland worked as clinical assistant to Professor Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. After the war, Dr Frankland resumed practice in England and specialised in the study of allergy. In the 1950s, he was responsible for developing the widely used ‘’pollen count’’, and pioneered treatments for seasonal hay fever.

Dr Frankland retired from the NHS in 1977 and subsequently devoted his life and energies to the field of allergy and immunology, most of this on a voluntary basis. He has held high office in the medical world, as Secretary-General of the Asthma Research Council and Vice-President of the International Association for Aerobiology, and BSACI instituted the William Frankland award which honours distinguished clinicians in the field of allergy each year.

Often referred to as the ‘’Grandfather of Allergy’’, Dr Frankland has written numerous papers and books, the most recent being ‘’the History of Allergy’’ published in 2014.

In the history of modern medicine, there can have been few men, who have given such unstinting commitment to humanity, totally regardless of their personal convenience and financial gain. He has been a unique contributor to medicine and science and one made from a totally unselfish approach. Dr Franklands work in the field of medicine, especially in the field of allergy and immunology, much of it on a voluntary basis, singles him out as being an exceptional human being.


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