Lives of the fellows

Francis James Hamilton Walters

b.19 February 1918 d.13 September 2002
MRCS LRCP(1941) MB BS Lond(1941) MRCP(1947) MD(1948) FRCP(1973)

Francis James Hamilton Walters was a consultant chest physician at St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey. He was born in Sutton Courtney towards the end of the First World War, the son of Francis James Walters, an estate manager, and Janette Hunter née Hamilton, the daughter of James Hamilton, a farmer. He was educated at Taunton School and then went on to St Bartholomew’s Hospital to study medicine.

In 1941, he held a house surgeon post at Bart’s and then, in 1942, joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in North Africa. During this time he became paraplegic due to poliomyelitis, from which he made an almost complete recovery. He always downplayed his disabilities. He told his family he’d been a bit unwell: they only realised how seriously he had been affected when they saw a photograph which showed him being manhandled out of the sea by two men while undergoing rehabilitation.

Following his demobilisation in 1946, he became a supernumerary registrar at St James’ Hospital, Balham. In 1948, he became an assistant physician at Surrey County Council and director of the Mass Radiography Service, gaining his MD in the same year. Two years later, in 1950, he became a physician at Wimbledon Hospital chest clinic. During this time he took part in the mass X-ray campaign in Glasgow, which played a major role in eradicating pulmonary tuberculosis from the slums of the city. He enjoyed the camaraderie of working with a team. He spent many hours working, believing that if the patients were prepared to queue in the rain, he should be there to deal with them. By the late sixties, the Mass Radiography Service had been wound down and he concentrated his efforts on other aspects of respiratory medicine. He is remembered as being a friendly, approachable consultant.

In 1972, he joined St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, again as a physician in the chest clinic. At St Peter’s, he initially continued with his ambition to eradicate and treat tuberculosis. He traced patient contacts, arranged immunisation and continued with mass radiography screening. He carried out evening clinics, so patients would find it easy to attend. As the new treatment with para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS), isoniazid (INH) and streptomycin took their effect, he turned his attention to other areas. He introduced lung function tests to St Peter’s, purchasing the equipment and training staff. After he retired, he continued to contribute whenever he could.

At the time of his election to the fellowship of the RCP, he listed sailing, golf and photography as his hobbies. He married Mary Mitchell Walters, the daughter of a miner, Alec Macdonald, in 1942 and they had two sons, Frank and Alec, and five grandchildren.

Frank Walters
RCP editor

(Volume XII, page web)

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