Lives of the fellows

John Frederick Bromley

b.13 December 1899 d.3 June 1981
OBE(1946) MB ChB Manch(1923) DMRE Cantab(1925) MRCP(1937) FFR(1947) FRCP(1953) FRCR(1975)

John Bromley was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, the son of Frederick William Bromley, a solicitor. He was educated at Sedbergh, where in 1913 he was a Scholar and in his last year won the quarter mile. On leaving school he joined the Royal Garrison Artillery as a subaltern and as such served for the last nine months of the first world war. Thereafter he entered medicine at Manchester, graduating in 1923.

After a house surgeon’s appointment, he was appointed assistant medical officer in the X-ray department at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and in 1925 obtained the DMRE at Cambridge. He achieved his first consultant appointment as radiologist to Crumpsall Hospital and Booth Hall Children’s Hospital in Manchester. From there he moved to the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary as radiologist and served many other hospitals in the Potteries in the same capacity. In 1934 he was appointed assistant radiologist at the Birmingham General Hospital and three years later was elected to the Membership. His experience at Stoke and in Birmingham led to most valuable papers on occupational diseases of the lungs and skin malignancy.

At the outbreak of war he joined the medical services of the RAF, in which he served for six years, achieving the rank of group captain and being appointed OBE in 1946. On return to civil life Bromley became the first director of the department of radiotherapy at the United Birmingham Hospitals, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1965. He also accepted the duties of adviser in radiotherapy to the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board, and consultant in radiotherapy to the Royal Hospital at Wolverhampton. He was lecturer in clinical radiology in the University of Birmingham, and in 1948 was appointed an honorary consultant to the RAF. His academic interests continued and he published important papers on chorion carcinoma and myelomatosis.

In 1947 Bromley became a Fellow of the Faculty of Radiologists, having been secretary for the previous two years. He was a member of the council and president of the radiological section of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the council of the British Institute of Radiology and the British Association of Physical Medicine. In 1953 he became a Fellow of the College, in 1959 a Fellow of the College of Radiologists of Australasia and in 1973 a foundation fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists.

Bromley had wide interests outside medicine. He was a keen Johnsonian and Shakespearean, and in 1960 — 1961 was president of the Birmingham Central Literary Association. His other major leisure occupations were music, campanology, and swimming, in which he continued to engage every day at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham until the last few weeks of his life.

Bromley was a naturally happy man, always friendly and helpful. His wide culture, his pleasant manner and charm made him a wonderful companion, and his great professional success did not alter a naturally modest and unassuming personality.

He married in 1929 a medical colleague, Sarah Walker, who unhappily died four years later. In 1935 he married Edith Mary, the daughter of the Revd James Neale, who survived him together with one of the three daughters of the marriage.

AGW Whitfield

[Brit.med.J., 1981, 282, 2145, 283, 239]

(Volume VII, page 66)

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