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Biographical entry Welch, Francis Henry (1839 - 1910)

MRCS May 8th 1860; FRCS June 8th 1871; LSA 1860.

27 May 1839
Stansted, Essex
25 October 1910
General surgeon and Pathologist


Born at Stansted, Essex, on May 27th, 1839; studied at the London Hospital, where in 1860 he won a Gold Medal. Entered the Army Medical Service on April 1st, 1861, as Assistant Surgeon on the Staff; was attached to the 22nd Foot in 1863; was promoted Surgeon Major on March 19th, 1876; Brigade Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel on Feb 24th, 1887; and Surgeon Colonel on April 5th, 1892.

From 1871-1876 he was Assistant Professor of Pathology at the Army School, Netley. In the Egyptian War of 1882 he saw active service at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir and was awarded the Medal with Clasps, also the Khedive's Star; he served later with the Hazara Field Force in 1888. In 1873 he gained the Alexander Memorial Prize and Gold Medal for his essay on "Pulmonary Consumption among Soldiers", and again in 1892 on "Enteric Fever in the Army".

Sir William Osier, in a lecture on aneurysm, directed attention to Welch as the first to have proved that syphilis is the chief cause of aneurysm.

Welch retired on May 1st, 1895, and died at Southborough on Oct 25th, 1910.

The Nature and Varieties of Destructive Lung Disease included under the term Pulmonary Consumption, its Prevalence, etc, as seen among Soldiers, 8vo, 1872.
"On Aortic Aneurism in the Army and the Conditions Associated with it." - Proc Roy Med-Chir Soc, 1875-80, viii, 22. This important paper was never printed in the Transactions. Thirty-four fatal cases were examined by Francis H Welch, who was then Assistant Professor of Pathology in the Army Medical School, Netley, and the results were communicated to the Society on Nov 23rd, 1875. The average age at death was thirty-two years; the average period of service performed by the soldier twelve years; the average duration of the lesion 13 months. In five instances the dilatation of the vessel was multiple. He points out that endarteritis of the aorta is one of the most frequent internal lesions of syphilis and one of the earliest produced. There is consequently a comparative absence of gummata in the viscera in cases of advanced aortic disease because the aneurysm kills before the tertiary lesions have had time to develop. The treatment of syphilis was in a very unsatisfactory condition at the time these observations were made.
Enteric Fever: as illustrated by Army Data, 8vo, Philadelphia, 1883.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1910, ii, 1370. Brit Med Jour, 1910, ii, 1475. Johnston's RAMC Roll, No 5986].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England