The First World War
Officers of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Capt. Freeman Albert Brockenshire
Medical Officer

Soldiers of the First World War database entry - F.A. Brockenshire


Canadian Medical Association Journal - Volume 85(8); August 19, 1961


R. FREEMAN A. BROCKENSHIRE, 71, prominent Windsor, Ont., doctor for more than 40 years, died July 3 at the Hotel-Dieu of St. Joseph Hospital after a long illness. Born near Exeter, Huron County, Dr. Brockenshire received his early education there and graduated 'from the University of Toronto Medical School in 1913.During World War I he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps overseas for three years. He was posted to Christie Street Hospital, Toronto, on his return to Canada. After his discharge from the army he did postgraduate work in New York before opening a practice in Windsor, Ont., in 1921.

In 1930 he went to Britain where he studied orthopedic surgery in Liverpool, Edinburgh and London. Later he went to Europe prior to returning to Windsor in 1931 when he opened a practice as a specialist in orthopedics.

As chairman of the committee which developed the Windsor Medical Services Plan, Dr. Brockenshire was its first president when the plan was incorporated as a company in 1939. He served in this capacity for several years.

Dr. Brockenshire had also been a past presidenit of the Essex County Medical Society, the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Orthopedic Association and the Surgical Fellowship Society of Windsor. In 1958 he was made a senior member of the Canadian Medical Association.

He had served as chief of orthopedics at Windsor's three hospitals and was honorary chief of staff at the Hotel-Dieu.

Surviving Dr. Brockenshire are his widow and one son.

An Appreciation, by M.S.D.

Dr. Freeman A. Brockenshire graduated from the University of Toronto in 1913, and carried out his internship in the eastern United States, where he worked under Hawley, the designer of the Hawley table. This proved to be one of the great influences of his life as it turned his interests to orthopedics.

Dr. Brockenshire served in the Canadian Armed Forces in World War I, spending a considerable part of his time overseas with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in the lines, as its medical officer, and the rest at base hospitals doing surgery. Following the war he initerned for an additional year in New York and then commenced practice in Windsor in 1921.

For the next nine years he was engaged in general practice in Windsor, continuing his studies in orthopedics in the mornings, in Detroit. In 1930 he went to Great Britain where he studied in Edinburgh, Liverpool and London and obtained his Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

He returned once more to Windsor and commenced his specialist practice in orthopedics which he conducted until his retirement.

To list his many accomplishments would require much more space than I can utilize. I first recall him in 1924 speaking of the use of intravenous saline in lieu of interstitial and rectal feedings. He was an avid searcher for the truth in the field of medicine, and unless he believed it to be true he would not follow custom. His temperament made him an excellent orthopedic surgeon and guided him through his career in the field of organized medicine.

He was president of the Essex County Medical Society in 1935, and during his term commenced the study of prepaid medical care. It was my privilege to be the secretary of the Committee assigned to that study, which he chaired. In 1937 we procured the Charter of the Windsor Medical Services and commenced operations in 1939. Dr. Brockenshire was first president of this organization and gave up his presidency to become president of the Ontario Medical Association in 1943-44 as he felt he could not serve two masters. On his retirement from office in the O.M.A. and the C.M.A. he again became president of the Windsor Medical Services.

Many anecdotes could be recounted about this man. Unfortunately most of these will be lost when his contemporaries pass along. However, many have been recorded in the annals of Windsor Medical Services, the Essex County Medical Society and the Ontario Medical Association, the records of Physicians' Services Incorporated, and in the minutes of Trans Canada Medical Services to which so many of his activities and so much of his energies were devoted.

But in the minds of his colleagues will ever live his great character as a man, a careful surgeon, a scientist and researcher, and a friend. - M.S.D.

An Appreciation, by J.W.B.

Dr. Freeman Albert Brockenshiie, the son of Franklin S. and Jane Brockenshire, was born near Exeter, Ont., on October 26, 1889, and died in Windsor on July 3, 1961. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Port Talbot where he received his primary education in a rural school and his secondary education at Dutton High School. He graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1913. He interned in Toronto General Hospital in 1913, Bridgeport, Conn., in 1914, and also at the New York Lying-In Hospital.

During World War I he served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, going overseas in 1916. He spent three years in France, the first at the front with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry and the latter part with No. 3 General Hospital at Boulogne.

After the war Dr. Brockenshire returned to Canada as a Major and was posted to Christie St. Hospital in Toronto. After his discharge he pursued postgraduate work in New York.

In 1921 he commenced general practice in Windsor, in which field he practised until 1930. During these years he became intensely interested in orthopedic surgery. He spent considerable time studying orthopedics at Children's Hospital in Detroit. In 1930 he continued further study of this specialty at London, Liverpool and Edinburgh, receiving a fellowship degree in Edinburgh. He furthered his study by visiting other orthopedic centres on the continent. In 1932 he returned to Windsor and was the first doctor to confine his work to the specialty of othopedics.

Dr. Brockenshire was made an honorary member of the Rotary Club and took an active part in its program on behalf of crippled children. This work he carried on until ill-health compelled him to retire.

He was an active member of the Essex County Medical Society, the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Orthopedic Association, and the Windsor Fellowship Society. He served as President of all these organizations. In 1958 he was awarded a Senior Membership in the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Brockenshire was very interested in the development of the Windsor Medical Services and was its first President in 1939. He also served as President from 1945 to 1950. He served as Chief of Orthopedics in the three Windsor hospitals and was the Honorary Chief of Staff of Hotel-Dieu.

In 1924 Dr. Brockenshire married Miss Gladys Nicholls. They had two sons, John Hamilton, practising law in Windsor, and Franklin, who died two weeks earlier in a motor accident. One brother, Norman of Talbotville, also survives. To these the Essex County Medical Society extends its deepest sympathy.

Dr. Brockenshire, to those who worked with him and knew him, will be remembered for his keen interest in the progress of organized medicine, both locally and throughout Canada, and for the progress the made in the department of orthopedic surgery. - J.W.B.

Date of Birth - 26 Oct 1888; Exeter, Ontario, Canada

Date of Death - 3 Jul 1961; Windsor, Ontario, Canada