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Biographical entry Fraser, Ian Urquhart (1926 - 2011)

MRCS 1954; FRCS 1966; LRCP 1954.

Bangkok, Thailand
1 September 2011


Ian Urquhart Fraser was an anatomy lecturer in London. He was born in Bangkok in 1926. During the Second World War he served in the Army and, in 1945, was based in Germany. Following his demobilisation, he returned to Britain to begin his studies as a medical student at King's College, London.

Following the completion of his medical training, Ian obtained his MRCS and LRCP in 1954, and then worked at the American Hospital in Paris between 1956 and 1957. Back in the UK, he took up posts at Basildon and North End Hospital, Hampstead.

By 1968 he was working at St Bartholomew's Hospital in West Smithfield and discovered a talent for teaching anatomy to medical students. He devoted the rest of his career to teaching medical students, initially at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and then at Bart's and the London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine following the merger of the basic medical sciences departments at Bart's and the Royal London with Queen Mary and Westfield College in 1990. During this period he often carried out locum work as a GP both in the Barbican and in Chalk Farm. He continued to teach well into his seventies and was considered to be one of the finest teachers of anatomy in the school of medicine.

Ian had a wonderful sense of humour and a seemingly endless supply of witty comments and stories. He inspired his students with his command of anatomy coupled with memorable anecdotes, which aided the learning of a detailed and essential subject, thus vastly improving the recall of important anatomical facts. He was a valued colleague and friend who had the capacity to entertain and enliven even the dullest and most tedious meeting. He was immensely well-read and educated, and an enormous loss to the department when he retired.

Ian was an intensely private person who, sadly, did not have any immediate family. In 2011 he was taken ill with heart and kidney problems. He was admitted into the Royal London Hospital and then to the cardiology ward at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he subsequently developed pneumonia. He died in hospital on 1 September 2011 at the age of 85.

Margaret Bird

The Royal College of Surgeons of England