Lives of the fellows

Cyril Walter Crane

b.22 November 1918 d.30 January 1990
BSc Lond(1940) MB BS(1951) MRCPath(1965)FRCPath(1976) FRCP(1978) FRIC FRSC

Cyril Walter Crane, known to his friends as Wally, was born in Surrey, where his father Stephen Augustus Crane was a grocer. He was educated at Oxted Grammar School and the University of London, and started his professional career as a chemist. He qualified in 1936 and spent much of the second world war working at Porton Down Chemical Warfare Department - from 1940-44. He then went to Australia, having accepted an appointment as senior chemist to the Australian Ministry of Supply. In 1948 he married Lorna Mary, née Gray, daughter of a tax collector, and returned to Britain to enrol as a medical student at University College medical school, London. He became house physician to the medical unit in 1951, and in 1952 was appointed resident medical officer at St Pancras Hospital.

In 1953 he returned to Australia as lecturer in biochemistry and clinical assistant to the liver unit at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, but came back to Britain again when he was appointed lecturer in chemical pathology, working on protein metabolism under Albert Neuberger, at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington.

In 1960 he became senior research associate in the department of medicine at the University of Birmingham, and in 1962 was appointed senior lecturer in human metabolism. His work was concerned with malabsorption, especially nitrogen metabolism as coeliac disease was a particular research interest in Birmingham at that time. He was also appointed physician in charge of the diabetic clinic at the East Birmingham Hospital and held this post until he retired.

Wally was a delightful person to know, and a most pleasant and helpful colleague who had a ready sense of humour. On the whole, his posts were for research. He did not lack original ideas - but much research is a game of chance and serendipity; his work was painstaking and he achieved some worthwhile results but he deserved more conspicuous successes. Outside his work his interests lay in travel and restoring a derelict Welsh cottage. His wife survived him, as did his children - a son who is a doctor in New Zealand, and a daughter.

C F Hawkins

(Volume IX, page 102)

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