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Biographical entry Holdsworth, Sir Frank Wild (1904 - 1969)

Kt 1968; MRCS 1929; FRCS 1930; MB BCh Cambridge 1934; MCh 1935; LRCP 1929; Hon FACS.

22 September 1904
11 December 1969
Orthopaedic surgeon


Frank Wild Holdsworth was born in Bradford on 22 September 1904, and was educated at Bradford Grammar School and Downing College, Cambridge, proceeding to St George's Hospital in 1926. He became a Fellow of the College in 1930, and obtained the Cambridge degrees of MB BCh in 1934 and MCh in 1935.

After junior appointments at St George's Hospital he became a registrar in general surgery at the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield, but later decided to specialise in orthopaedics and in 1937 was appointed the first orthopaedic surgeon to the Infirmary, and also to the Children's Hospital, Sheffield. In 1964 a department of orthopaedics was created at Sheffield University and Holdsworth was made honorary director. In 1968 he was given the title of Professor Associate of Sheffield University, and later in the same year received his knighthood.

He was a man of tireless energy and devotion to the practice and teaching of orthopaedic surgery, later extended to include post-graduate training in all the surgical specialties and he ultimately became the Chairman of the Committee of the Council of the College which dealt with postgraduate education. Frank Holdsworth served the College as a member of the Court of Examiners, and in 1958 was elected to the Council. At the time of his death he was Senior Vice-President. His interest in postgraduate work sprang from his own experience in the training of registrars in Sheffield, for he evolved the scheme of rotation of registrar appointments, since copied throughout the country, and took pride in the fact that no rotating registrar failed to obtain his Fellowship before the completion of his two year period of training.

Holdsworth was a past President of the British Orthopaedic Association, an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, of the American College of Surgeons and of the South African Orthopaedic Association. He gave the Robert Jones Lecture in 1965, and published several papers on epiphysial growth and spinal injuries. He created a paraplegic unit in Sheffield, and clinics at Rotherham, Mexborough and Worksop.

In 1932 he married Marjorie Lunn of Bradford and they had a son and a daughter. In private life he had many interests, including fishing and freemasonry. The last few years of his life were clouded by painful illness which he bore with great courage, and would not allow his affliction to interfere with his activities. It thus came about that he died in the Nuffield College of Surgical Sciences, on 11 December 1969. His family survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1969, 4, 812; Lancet 1969, 2, 1429; 1970, 1, 47; Ann Roy Coll Surg 1970, 46, 115].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England