Lives of the fellows

Francis Cyril Oliphant Valentine

b.26 July 1897 d.23 March 1957
BA Cantab(1921) MA Cantab(1956) MRCS LRCP(1923) MRCP(1925) FRCP(1952)

Frank Valentine was born in Dundee to William Roderick Harris Valentine, a jute manufacturer, and Margaret Oliphant, daughter of Francis Wilson, a bank manager in Windsor. He was thereby the great nephew of Sir Daniel Wilson, of Toronto University, and of Mrs Oliphant, the novelist. From Cargilfield School and Winchester College he went up to Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1918 after holding a commission in the Royal Artillery from 1916. At the London Hospital, from which he had qualified, he was house physician to the medical unit under Charles Miller and Arthur Ellis, and in 1925 became assistant to H. M. Turnbull in the Bernhard Baron Institute, and travelling fellow to the Rockefeller Institute, New York, where he worked with T. M. Rivers on the culture problems of haemophilus influenzae.

On his return he was appointed assistant to Philip Panton, with whom he did valuable research on the application of pathology to diagnosis and treatment. His contributions to haematology and the toxins of the staphylococcus brought him the directorship of the inoculation department in 1936. During World War II he became interested in antibiotics at the Emergency Medical Service Hospital at Claybury; this prepared him for the directorship of the new department of chemotherapy at the London, which he combined with the teaching of bacteriology.

Valentine never sought the limelight, but his colleagues knew that his retiring and gentle personality hid an intense devotion to the perfection of detail in all his experimental work. He was a keen fisherman, a good photographer and a fair golfer; he won the founders’ cup at Sunningdale in 1937. In 1931 he married Freda Butler, daughter of the 8th Earl of Lanesborough. They had two sons.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1957, 1, 823-4; Lancet, 1957, 1, 743; Times, 29 May 1957.]

(Volume V, page 429)

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