Sir William Henry Flower KCB FRCS FRS was an English surgeon, museum curator and comparative anatomist, who became a leading authority on mammals and especially on the primate brain.
William Flower was born on 30th November 1831 at Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. He was the second son of Edward Fordham Flower, founder of the town brewery, and his wife Celina, eldest daughter of John Greaves and his wife Mary Whitehead.
He attended University College, London, followed by the Middlesex Hospital, where he studied medicine and surgery. Graduating as an MB of London University in 1851. He was promoted to senior house surgeon of Middlesex Hospital, and in 1854 passed the exam to become an MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons). Also in 1854 he became Curator of the Middlesex Hospital Museum.
With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, he joined the British Army and was appointed as Assistant-Surgeon to the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot. Embarking for the Crimeaa and landing at Kalamita Bay in August, within four months, the regiment was reduced in strength by almost one half from cold, exposure, infectious disease and, lastly, enemy action. Flower's own health broke and he had to be invalided home, never fully recovering. In recognition of his services, he received from the hands of Queen Victoria the Crimea Medal with clasps for Alma, Inkerman, Balaclava, and Sebastopol. Later, he received the Turkish Crimean War medal.
When fit to work he returned to London, taking the diploma to become an FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) in 1857 and joining the staff of the Middlesex Hospital.
He married Georgiana Rosetta Smyth on 15th April 1858 at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He and his wife led an active social life outside his work, over the years meeting many leading figures in British society. Among their friends were the poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the leading churchman Dean Stanley.
Influenced by Thomas Henry Huxley, Flower became involved in the evolution debate, believing, like his brother-in-law Baden Powell, that the theory bore no threat to religious belief. In 1892 he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB). He also received the Jubilee Medal and the Royal Prussian order "Pour le Mérite".
He passed away on 1st July 1899 at his home in South Kensington, London. His remains were buried with his wife's family's at Stone in Buckinghamshire.
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