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Biographical entry Sweetman, Keith Franklin Drysdale (1914 - 1992)

MRCS and FRCS 1956; MB BS Melbourne 1937; DTMH Liverpool 1949.

5 February 1914
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
7 February 1992
General surgeon and Medical Officer


Keith Franklin Drysdale Sweetman was born in Perth, Western Australia, on 5 February 1914. His father was Joseph Franklin, a hardware merchant, who married Gladys Edith Drysdale. His great grandfather arrived in Western Australia as a civilian in 1834 from the United Kingdom but nothing is known of his origins. Franklin went to Government schools in Western Australia and, on leaving secondary school, obtained a government scholarship to the University of Western Australia for one year and to the University of Melbourne for five years. He qualified with second class honours in 1937. Following qualification he filled training posts at Perth General and Perth Children's Hospital.

During the second world war Franklin served from 1941 to 1945 in the Royal Australian Air Force, attaining the rank of squadron leader. After the war he took the Fellowship of the College in 1956, entered the Flying Doctor Service and finally worked as Medical Officer for Shell Oil, ultimately becoming Chief Medical Officer in Sarawak, Brunei and Trinidad. His duties included obstetrics and gynaecology, setting up a sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis and running general hospitals and a nurses' training school. In 1962 he was decorated by the Sultan of Brunei following capture and imprisonment during the emergency in Brunei in that year. During this period of his life he developed an interest in orchids, as a result of which he provided specimens of wild orchids to the Singapore Botanical Society.

He married Amy Nelmore Moulton Reynolds in 1938. They had two sons, Keith Ord Sweetman, and Bryan John, who trained at St Thomas's, obtaining the MRCP in 1971. In his retirement Franklin lived in Haslemere, where he died from myocardial infarction on 7 February 1992, survived by his wife, sons and four grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1992 304 1628-9, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England