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Biographical entry France, William Gordon (1912 - 1998)

MRCS 1936; FRCS 1946; MB ChB Leeds 1936; LRCP 1936.

12 July 1912
Heckmondwike, Yorkshire
24 November 1998
Hand surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Gordon France was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Lewisham Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup. He was born in Heckmondwike, west Yorkshire, on 12 July 1912. His father was a cabinet maker and joiner, and his mother, Harriet Alice née Firth, a dressmaker. From Heckmondwike Grammar School, he attended Leeds University Medical School. After junior posts, he joined the RAMC at the beginning of the war, and was commanding a military hospital in Crete when the island was overrun by the Germans. All the staff and patients were taken prisoner and transferred to a camp in Germany. There he continued to be the camp's medical officer until the defeat of Germany.

On demobilisation he studied for the final FRCS, which he passed a year later. He did his orthopaedic training in Leeds, where he was orthopaedic tutor to the university, before becoming consultant to Lewisham Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup. His main interest was in the surgery of the hand, but he also published on chronic haemorrhagic arthropathy of haemophilia.

He married Madge in 1948. They had two sons, Philip and Oliver, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah, none of whom went into medicine. There were seven grandchildren. Formerly a keen pianist, his latter days were overtaken by Parkinson's disease which sapped his strength completely. He died in Beckenham on 24 November 1998.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 26 November 1998 without memoir].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England