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Biographical entry Fry, Sir William Kelsey (1889 - 1963)

Kt 1951; CBE1946; MRCS November 1912; FRCS by election 8 May 1952; LDS 1913; FDS by election 31 July 1947; LRCP 1912; Hon MDS Durham 1948; DSc McGill.

18 March 1889
26 October 1963
Dental surgeon


Born on 18 March 1889, son of Edward Fry of Greenwich, he was educated at Hurstpierpoint and Guy's Hospital, qualifying both as a doctor and a dental surgeon.

In the war of 1914-18 he served as a regimental medical officer attached to the Welsh Fusiliers, and landed in France with the 7th Division in October 1914. He was wounded at Festubert in May 1915 but soon rejoined, and remained with the battalion until wounded again on 26 August 1916. During his two years he was present at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and the Somme. He was steadfastly courageous and his calm, happy temperament carried him through the long period apparently unaffected. Immensely kind and devoted to his battalion, he remained in touch with the survivors of his little band of stretcher bearers. Later in the war he worked with Sir Harold Gilles at Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, pioneering the development of facio-maxillary surgery; his experience provided the substance of his essay on "Treatment of injuries of the jaws" which was awarded the Cartwright prize of the College.

After the war he was appointed to the staff of Guy's, where he was recognised as an outstanding teacher and clinician. During the war of 1939-45 he worked at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, which he made the foremost postgraduate teaching centre. He was also largely responsible for the establishment of a postgraduate dental school at the Eastman Dental Hospital, where he was lecturer in oral surgery. In these war years he acted as consultant in dentistry to the Emergency Medical Service and also to the Royal Air Force. He retired from the staff of Guy's in 1949 but retained his connection with the Eastman Clinic. He was Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery in the College 1950-53, a Governor of Guy's, and a member of the S E Metropolitan Health Board.

In his youth he was a hockey player of repute and later a keen golfer, also finding time to devote to his garden, carnations being his favourite flowers.

He married in 1916 Ruby Hannah, second daughter of John Preston, by whom he had a son. He died on 26 October 1963 at Bexhill. A memorial service was held on 20 November at St Clement Danes, the RAF church.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1963, 2, 1206 with portrait; Lancet 1963, 2 954 with portrait; The Times 28 October 1963, and 2 November p 12 A appreciation by LLAAA, and 21 November p 14 D memorial service].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England