Lives of the fellows

Francis Exton Crawley

b.31 July 1911 d.20 December 2003
MB ChB Glasg(1933) DPH(1935) MD(1938) MRCP(1946) FRCP(1970)

Frank Crawley practised general and respiratory medicine in Liverpool, bridging the gap between the old style tuberculosis specialist and the modern general physician with a special interest.

He was born in Barrow-in-Furness, but he spent his early years in Singapore, where his engineering father worked for the harbour board. He was educated at St Joseph's College, Dumfries, where he boarded, and gained his soft and precise Scottish accent. He progressed to Glasgow Medical School, collecting many prizes on the way. His house jobs were at the Western Infirmary Glasgow, from where he obtained his DPH. His MD (with commendation) concerned the virulence of pneumococci. He was a junior medical officer in Southport and there obtained his MRCP.

He became a consultant in Dorset, before settling into Merseyside, where he worked in general and respiratory medicine at Aintree and Fazakerely Hospital, as well as the south chest clinic based at Sefton General Hospital.

On all three sites he bonded with a thoracic surgeon, Ken Waddington, who recalls many anecdotes. Frank ran between wards on the sanatorium site and he ran round the wards, leaving nursing, junior medical and consultant colleagues in his wake. At the end of a clinic he would light up a partially smoked cigarette, take half a dozen puffs, put it back in the packet and consume a mint.

In his youth, Frank had been a keen sportsman, played cricket and was naturally nimble. He played an average game of golf, and cherished a photograph, featured on the frontispiece of the magazine Scot, showing him approaching the last green at the Ayr Golf Club.

He married Evalyn in 1937 (arriving late at the church, having performed a ward round while she was dressing for the ceremony). It came as no surprise to friends and family that he moved to Ayrshire when he retired. He and Evalyn developed the garden in their new retirement home situated in a lovely park, the flowers and shrubs reflecting their worldwide travels, often on leisurely cruises. Evalyn died 20 years before him, just before their golden wedding anniversary. Their daughter is a general practitioner in Ascot. One son is an engineer, the other an accountant.

C C Evans

[Brit.med.J., 2004,328,467]

(Volume XI, page 131)

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