King's College London
War Memorials

Smith, Frank Lewis

The sudden death on February 18 at the age of 60 of Surgeon Rear-Admiral Frank Lewis Smith has come as a great shock to his many friends and acquaintances both in and outside the Services. His general disposition and cheery manner had endeared him to many, while his extensive knowledge of Service matters and affairs and affairs in general was always at the disposal of those who cared to ask; nothing was too much trouble for him, and if he did not know the answer he could always suggest a way to find it. His organising ability was of a high order, and his energy in carrying out his duties was unremitting, that he died on his way to work in the Department which he loved is probably what he himself would have wanted, though both the Navy and the Medical Branch are the poorer for it.

Born in 1881the son of Ralph Smith of Whitby, he was educated at Dulwich and underwent his medical training at St. Thomas’ s. He entered the Royal Navy in 1909, and after service in China returned to England shortly before the outbreak of the last war, and served in the Royal Naval Hospital and Dockyard at Pembroke Dock till 1916. Thence he joined H.M.S. Caroline in the Grand Fleet, and later he was appointed to the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham where he served as specialist in x rays. After further sea service as senior medical officer of the aircraft-carriers Hermes and Furious, he came to the Admiralty in 1926 as assistant to the Medical Director General and remained until promoted to surgeon captain in 1931. After promotion he went as principal medical officer of the Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth, and in 1934-8 was in medical charge of the Royal Marine Infirmary and Depot at Deal. In 1930 he was advanced to the rank of Surgeon Rear-Admiral and placed on the retired list.

At the outbreak of war he was recalled to the Medical Department to take up his war appointment as principal medical transport officer for the Navy, a post for which his previous experience and organising ability made him entirely suitable, and which he filled with such success that his place will indeed be hard to fill. His liaison with other fighting Services, as well as the Ministry of Health and various Admiralty depots, was invaluable. He also acted as the link between the Medical Departments of the Navies of this country and the U.S.A. His kindly personality and practical mind maintained a close and harmonious bond between the Services. During his long service at the Admiralty he had the unusual privilege of serving under five Medical Directors General. British Medical Journal 7 March 1942


First name(s)Frank Lewis
Date of birth1881
Family detailsSon of Ralph and Jane Smith; husband of Gertrude Mary Smith, of Kensington, London.
Previous educationDulwich
CollegeSt Thomas' Hospital
Dates at college1904-1909
Dept / courseConjoint
QualificationsL.R.C.P., M.R.C.S.
Military unitRoyal Navy
Date enlisted1909
War / conflictWorld War Two (1939-1945)
Decorations / medalsO.B.E.
Date of death18-Feb-42
Age at death60
Rank at deathSurgeon Rear Admiral
Cause of deathDied on active service
Burial placeGillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery
Commemoration(s)St. Thomas's Roll of Honour in the chapel
NotesIn 1904 his home address was 3 Abbey Terrace, Whitby
SourcesSt Thomas’ s Hospital Medical School Records, King’ s College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; British Medical Journal

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