No. 196

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2020


The following article about our oldest surviving OSB,
Dr Bill Frankland, recently appeared on the website of
Queen’s College, Oxford, who have kindly allowed us to reproduce it.


107-year-old Old Member publishes paper.

Old Member and Honorary Fellow Dr Bill Frankland (Physiological Sciences, 1930) has just published yet another paper in his long and illustrious medical career.

Matriculating in 1930, Bill qualified as a doctor in 1938 from St Mary’s Hospital, and his first paper was published in 1941. His most recent, published in the Journal of Medical Biography is Bill’s fifth since he turned 100. It is a biographical account of Dr Jacob Markowitz, a Canadian doctor who made significant contributions to medicine, both in war and peace. Bill first met Markowitz in December 1941 in Singapore when both were serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Three months later they were both prisoners of war of the Japanese, held at Changi barracks. Bill was later sent to Hell Island (now called Sentosa) whereas Markowitz was sent to the infamous Burma Railway where his skills and knowledge saved hundreds of lives.

The paper draws together much of Markowitz’s early career, initially working for the Nobel Laureate JJR Macleod, and then moving to the Mayo Clinic where he pioneered techniques for heart transplantation. It describes in some detail Markowitz’s war-time contributions on the Burma Railway, where he developed a system of blood transfusion under the most austere conditions, and gave nearly 4,000 transfusions.

OSB Notes - Bill Frankland
Painting of Bill Frankland

Bill commented on his latest publication by saying, ‘I am keen to keep my brain busy, but unfortunately am no longer able to visit medical libraries. I am, however, very keen to pass on my knowledge, gained over what has been a long and most interesting career.’

The paper, Transfusion on the Burma Railway, the Life of Jacob Markowitz, is published in the Journal of Medical Biography at: or by clicking here.




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