Lives of the fellows

Frank Pollard Ellis

b.1 February 1913 d.17 August 1989
OBE(1945) MRCS LRCP MB BCh Lond(1935) MD Manch(1947) MRCP(1948) OSt John(1958) FRCP(1961)

Frank Ellis was born in Manchester, the son of Thomas Tudor Ellis, a civil servant, and his wife Catherine Day née Pollard. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, proceeding to read medicine at Manchester University and Charing Cross Hospital, London, where he graduated in 1935. After two appointments at Charing Cross as house surgeon, he joined the Royal Navy in 1937 as a surgeon lieutenant, serving in HM ships Medway, Nile and Amphion. In 1944, the MRC and the Admiralty set up the Royal Naval Personnel research committee and Frank Ellis was involved in the administration of its main committee, and the sub-committees through which it worked, as its naval medical secretary. His special interest in personnel research was stimulated in those early days.

In 1945 he received the OBE for his contributions to personnel related research and was also awarded the Gilbert Blane medal. This was followed by the award of a gold medal from the University of Manchester for his doctoral thesis m 1947. In the same year he gained the Parkes Memorial prize - and married Marguerite Rayner. There were no children of the marriage.

He obtained his membership of the College in 1948 and, as a surgeon lieutenant commander, was appointed medical officer in charge of the MRC’s Royal Naval Tropical Research unit, from which he published a number of papers on the effects of warm climates on personnel effectiveness. He was appointed a Hunterian Professor by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1953. In 1954, Ellis joined the British Joint Services Commission, Washington, returning to England in 1957 as assistant to the medical director general at the Admiralty. In 1960 he was promoted to surgeon captain and returned to Washington where he remained until 1963.

For his continuing work on the effects of climate on the health and efficiency of men in warships he was awarded the Chadwick prize in 1960 and the Errol-Eldridge prize in 1961. He was appointed an Officer (Brother) of the Order of St John in 1958. Once back in England his remaining years of naval service were spent at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, and as director of research at the Institute of Naval Medicine, where he devoted much care to data collection for the reports on the health of the Navy while retaining his great interest in and concern for the work of the Royal Naval Personnel Research committee.

Frank Ellis retired from the Royal Navy in 1970, continuing his interest in heat illness and in statistics as an honorary research fellow in the department of medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He was a visiting professor and research fellow at Yale University medical school in 1971, when he was able to study mortality from heat illness in the USA. He published his results in 1971.

Ellis was an all-round sportsman and played squash racquets, tennis, swimming and rugby. His other interests were international relations and travel. He could always be relied upon by his subordinates and friends for helpful and confidential advice - just one of those men dedicated to their jobs which have made the modern Navy what it is.

Sir Godfrey Milton-Thompson
R A McCance

(Volume IX, page 152)

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