Meet The 105 Year Old Doctor Who Is Still Hard At Work


He worked with Alexander Fleming and was a Prisoner of War 

Meet the 105-year-old doctor who is still hard at work

He worked with Alexander Fleming and was a Prisoner of War

Helena Horton

31 MARCH 2017 • 9:48AM

Dr Bill Frankland, who we caught up with around his 100th birthday five years ago, is a remarkable man.

He’s been asked by Saddam Hussein for treatment, suffered as a prisoner of war and worked with Alexander Fleming, and is still going strong.

Born in Sussex, the doctor is known as the ‘Grandfather of Allergy’, which is his specialism – he helped thousands every year by convincing the media to show pollen counts in weather forecasts.

Dr Frankland has received two cards from the Queen for reaching such a grand old age, and still drinks alcohol, cheekily telling the Daily Mail: “No wine for me — I had too much to drink yesterday”.

Britain’s oldest working doctor still contributes to journals and consults people about their allergies

He even requires a secretary to run his busy diary and he only gave up driving in 2004.

It was Frankland who championed the view that an allergic reaction is due to a malfunctioning immune system.

In doing so, he and his colleagues opened up the possibility of radical new treatments for lifelong sufferers by using small doses of an allergen to, in effect, retrain the errant immune system.

He told The Telegraph some years ago about his encounter with Saddam Hussein.

He said: “I got a call [in 1979] to see the new president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. They told me he had an allergy and he was being treated with various desensitising injections. But he wasn’t allergic at all; his problem was that he was smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

“I told him to stop and if he wouldn’t I would refuse to come and see him again. I don’t think anyone had spoken to him like that before.

“I heard some time later that he had had a disagreement with his secretary of state for health, so he took him outside and shot him. Maybe I was lucky.”

During the Second World War, he joined the Royal Amy Medical Corps and was sent to Singapore.

On arrival, he tossed a coin with a fellow medic to decide upon the institution where each would work. It was three days before Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941.

Some two months later, on February 15, 1942, the Japanese swept into Singapore.

His colleague, who had gone to the Alexandra Hospital to work, died there along with other staff in an orgy of killing by Japanese soldiers armed with bayonets.

Frankland survived the invasion but endured ”three-and-a-half years of hell” in an internment camp on Blakang Mati Island (now Sentosa).

He now has a non-paid consultancy role at Guy’s Hospital, where he researched peanut allergies. He continued to see patients as a private consultant into his late 90s.

After all his hard work, he received his MBE, aged 103, in 2015.