Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Frankau, Sir Claude Howard Stanley (1883 - 1967)

Kt 1945; DSO 1918; CBE 1919; MRCS 1907; FRCS 1908; MB BS London 1909; MS 1921.

11 February 1883
29 June 1967
General surgeon


Born on 11 February 1883 the youngest son of Frederick Joseph Frankau, a barrister, Claude Frankau was educated at Rugby and St George's Hospital, to which he devoted his career. After qualifying with the Conjoint Diploma in 1907 he held resident posts in the hospital. He took the Fellowship at the earliest possible age, 25, in 1908 and was awarded the Herbert Allingham Scholarship in Surgery, and he graduated in London University in 1909 winning the William Brown Exhibition.

He was surgical registrar and then an assistant surgeon at St George's, but when war broke out in 1914 he was immediately mobilised in the RAMC and took charge of a forward casualty clearing station in France. His surgical ability and his initiative bought him rapid promotion to the rank of Colonel and he became consulting surgeon to the Fifth Army. He was mentioned three times in despatches, awarded the Distinguished Service Order and created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

After returning to civilian life he took the London Master of Surgery degree, with a gold medal, in 1921, and was given charge of the genito-urinary department of St George's, later transferring to the fracture department; he was also for many years an excellent teacher of surgery in the Medical School. He examined for the University of London, and was a member of the Court of Examiners at the College 1926-34. He was President of the Association of Surgeons in 1937-38, and President of the Section of Surgery in the Royal Society of Medicine 1938-39.

During the second world war he was Director of the Emergency Medical Service for London and the Home Counties, a post of great responsibility as the ultimate authority in providing care and treatment for the many thousands of casualties injured in the German air-raids. His outstanding efficiency and success in combining active clinical work with the high administrative duties at the Ministry of Health was rewarded by a knighthood, conferred in 1945. He had a large private practice, and was in demand as a surgeon among his professional colleagues.

Frankau was a tall, good-looking man, masterful and decided in all his work. Though rather austere, with a caustic wit, he was a staunch friend, generous and kind at heart. He was a popular member of the Athanaeum, attending the club almost daily in his later years in London.

Frankau was married in 1914 to Edith Lorne MacDougall, who died in 1934, leaving two sons and a daughter, and in 1935, to Isabella (nee Robertson), widow of Gordon Cunningham. Lady Frankau was an MD of London University, and practised as a psychiatrist; she died in May 1967 and Sir Claude died a few weeks after her on 29 June 1967 aged eighty-four, at his home Ickleton Grange, near Saffron Walden, on the Essex-Cambridgeshire border, where at one time he farmed and kept a herd of Jersey cattle. He was survived by his son and daughter, his elder son having died in 1951.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 1 July 1967, and 17 July by Dr Anthony Felling, and 21 February 1968 his will; Lancet 1967, 2, 105 with appreciations by RM and AHMS, Brit med J 1967, 3, 116, page 182 by H F Anderson, page 314 by CFM, and page 378 by Sir Treffry Thompson; Ann Roy Coll Surg Eng 1967, 41, 318].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England