Lives of the fellows

Frederick James Wright

b.23 March 1906 d.14 June 1996
MRCS LRCP(1930) MA BChir Cantab(1932) MRCP(1934) MD(1935) DTM&H(1935) FRCP Edin(1957) FRCP(1959)

Frederick James Wright was a specialist in tropical diseases who spent almost twenty years in Kenya and later returned to the UK, to academic work at Edinburgh University. He was born in London, where his father was an officer of customs and excise. He was educated at Coopers’ Company’s School in London and went on to win an exhibition to Cambridge, where he studied medicine at Sidney Sussex College and the London Hospital. After graduating he held junior posts at the London Hospital.

In 1936, after completing the diploma in tropical medicine, he joined the Colonial Medical Service in Kenya. He was initially based in the Northern Frontier District and, from 1941, at the African Hospital in Nairobi. He was made medical specialist for Kenya in 1946. Kenya gave him a wide experience of medicine in the tropics, including his special interest in brucellosis and plague.

After 18 years, in October 1954, he returned to the UK and became a senior lecturer on the diseases of tropical climates at Edinburgh University and honorary consultant physician to the Scottish South Eastern Regional Hospital Board. During 1955 to 1956 he was assistant to the dean of the faculty of medicine at Edinburgh. From January 1957 he was a consulting physician to the Colonial Office, later the Ministry of Overseas Development.

He was active in various medical organizations, including the BMA and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He was president of the Kenyan branch of the BMA in 1952 and was secretary of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Kenya, from 1949 to 1953. He was secretary and president of the Society in Edinburgh during different periods in the sixties and seventies. At a national level he served as vice-president of the Society between 1965 and 1967.

In 1972 he retired from his posts at Edinburgh University and at the Ministry of Overseas Development and spent three years in charge of the department of medicine at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.

He married Ruth (née Cassé), a London Hospital sister, in Nairobi Cathedral in December 1936. He was widowed in 1966 and married for a second time in 1973, to Gerda Rossen, a physiotherapist from Denmark. He had one son and two daughters from his first marriage.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J., 1996,313,556]

(Volume X, page 534)

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