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Biographical entry Diggle, Frank Holt (1886 - 1942)

OBE 1919; MRCS 10 February 1910; FRCS 11 December 1913; MB ChB Manchester 1909; LRCP London 1910; FRCP Edinburgh 1913.

19 May 1886
Heywood, Lancashire
30 September 1942
ENT surgeon


Born at Heywood, Lancashire on 19 May 1886, third son of James Diggle, consulting water engineer, and Rachel Alice Holt, his wife. He was educated at Rossall School and Manchester University, and studied medicine at St Bartholomew's and the London Hospital. He won medals in anatomy and gynaecology, was awarded distinction in forensic medicine, and took second-class honours in the Manchester MB examination, won the Bradley surgical scholarship, the Henry Agnew scholarship in diseases of children, and the clinical medicine prize. He was a pupil of Sir William Milligan and served as house surgeon and house surgeon to special departments at the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Specializing in aural surgery, he served for a period as assistant surgeon at the Birmingham and Midlands Ear and Throat Hospital and then returned to Manchester as aurist and laryngologist to the Manchester Union Hospitals. During the war he was commissioned in the RAMC as temporary lieutenant on 7 June 1917, and later promoted captain. He served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, was mentioned in despatches, and was created OBE for his services.

Diggle made his mark as the first surgeon-in-charge of the ear and throat department at Ancoats Hospital, Manchester, an appointment he received in 1920. Here he started from nothing and built up a big, well-organized, and well-equipped clinic. He was also surgeon to the Manchester Ear Hospital and laryngologist to the Christie Hospital, the Holt Radium Institute, and the Royal Manchester College of Music, and consulting aural surgeon to the Duchess of York Hospital for Babies, Manchester, and the Ethel Hedley Hospital, Windermere. He was lecturer in practical physiology of the ear at Manchester University. Diggle was a constant visitor to his colleagues' clinics and an active member of professional societies, particularly the Manchester Medical. Society and the Royal Society of Medicine. He married in 1914 Mary Leah, daughter E Horrox of Edinburgh, who survived him with a daughter. Diggle lived at Riverslea, West Didsbury, with a consulting room at 26 St John Street, Manchester. He also had a country house at Park End, Dunham, Massey, Cheshire, where he died on 30 September 1942, of a heart attack while dressing. With the scientific and administrative abilities which brought him success Diggle combined the imaginative and self-critical sensitivity of an artist. He was a keen amateur musician.

Cancer of the larynx, diagnosis and treatment. Practitioner, 1921, 56, 347. Lachrymal obstruction, its nasal origin and intra-nasal treatment. Brit med J. 1927, 2, 933.
Acute frontal sinusitis. Proc Roy Soc Med. 1936, 29, 299.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 2 October 1942, p 7f; Lancet, 1942, 2, 471 with portrait; Brit med J. 1942, 2, 562; information given by Mrs Diggle].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England