Banting was Impatient with Canada War Effort and Levity of Citizens
Nation Not Nearly "in high Gear," Great Savant Felt - Yearned For Cancer Cure
By phyllis Griffith
Telegram Staff Reporter
Sir Fredrick Banting's dream and dearest hope was to find a cure for cancer.
With the outbreak of a war which he felt Britain must win if a worthwhile world was to survive, he shelved that dream and turned his magnificent scientist's mind and his every effort to the Empire's cause.
It was his often repeated, impatient opinion of the last few months that Canada's war effort was not nearly what it should be that the Dominion was not "in high gear" to productive the supplies, munitions and war materials a of all kinds needed by the Motherland, and that Canadians as a whole were not taking the war seriously enough.
He thought Churchill a great man.
He was a thorough Canadian and a strong Imperialist.
He hated humbug and revered honesty.
He was impatient of inefficiency.
He was punctual to the minute.
Thus was "Fred" Banting described to the Telegram by the men who knew him best - a small group of intimates with whom he had been in the long habit of lunching almost daily at the Military Institute. These men, college classmates, who loved him for himself and admired him for what he had done and was doing, would like his fellow-citizens and his fellow-countrymen to know something of his real self. It was for this reason that, despite deep personal grief in his stunning death, they sought words to reveal "Fred" Banting's character, personality and opinions.
"ALL OUT" FOR VICTORY
"Fred," they said, had a keen appreciation of his personal and national responsibilities. Sure that war was coming long before it did, he threw himself into it on the medical research and organization end without hesitation and without reserve, for he felt that Naziism must be crushed and that Canada should be "all out'
It was his judgement that Canada's brains were needed more than Canada's brawn - that man power on the field was not nearly as important as research in the laboratory. He was particularly keen on young men sticking to their science and medical courses in the university until graduation, so that they could then be used to best advantage.
And, looking ahead to the end of a war which he was not himself to see, Sir Frederick Banting prophesied that money would not mean much then. It would be the man who could use his hands and his head who would be on top, he asserted.
To the man who, with Dr. C. H. Best, gave insulin to the University of Toronto, money meant little. He said once: "I want to work for humanity, not for gain." He was more than satisfied with a way of living comparable to that of thousands of middle-class Toronto families. He liked simple food. He drove his own car, which was not of expensive make. His wardrobe was plain. But he was generous in helping others - "much more so than will ever be known," is a friend's statement.
GAVE ALL TO RESEARCH
Tenacious in his ideas and convictions, he battled through difficulties and setbacks to attain success in laboratory experiments and more latterly in organization of Britain-Canada medical research.
Lieutenant-General A. G. L. McNaughton, in command of the Canadian army overseas, was a close friend. He was looking forward to conferring with him in England.
Until taking up aviation medical research, Sir Frederick had flown very little, and , except for experimental observations, he preferred to travel by train. Since the war started, his numerous trips between Toronto and Ottawa were invariably made by train - he said he might just as well sleep on the over-night journey.
His five feet eleven inches slightly stooped, especially during the last few years, Sir Frederick had a strong physique and excellent health. He war spectacles because of short sight but with them had splendid vision.
LOVED BY STUDENTS
Reticent and reserved, he unbent seldom in public. He was an exceptionally fine public speaker, compelling interest and attention because of the worth and clarity of what he said. In social gatherings he spoke little, and it was his creed that words should not be wasted or idly uttered. With his near friends, however, he conversed freely, and his young proteges at the university - and he took a keen interest in many promising students - found him not at all formidable and always approachable.
"I could always go and ask him anything, at any time," said one such. "there was no question of calling up first to see if it would be all right to drop around."
Tot the press Sir Frederick invariably had little to say, and that on the curt side. He had never forgotten what he considered unwarranted publicity about his private life. And personal aggrandizement was hateful to him.
In general during the last few years, his friends had observed that his outlook had become broader, his views more genial, his disposition more mellow. "Fred is aging well, It becomes him," they said.
LOVED OUTDOOR LIFE
Sir Frederick loved his home and his garden, in which he frequently worked on spring and summer nights before pressure of war duties kept him too busy. Tireless, he toiled early and late, pushing himself to the limit and foregoing all holidays this past year, although he loved outdoor life and northern vacations. His only recreation was reading, and he read only "heavy stuff."
Put aside for the time that now will not come was the writing of a book for which he collected much material a book on the medicinal practices of the early North American Indians. Put aside, too, was the oil painting, which was his greatest hobby, and which produced a number of meritorious pictures that his friends are proud to have on their walls.
Sir Frederick liked a game of Chinese checkers or monopoly, but had no interest in card games. He smoked innumerable cigarettes and a pipe.
No "joiner" and not interested in social life, he confined his memberships to the Military Institute, Caduceus Club, Academy of Medicine, The Art Gallery of Toronto, Canadian Club and Empire Clubs.
Sir Frederick was a member of the United Church but was not a church-goer. His friends sum up his politics in a word: None.
Lady Banting Remains Calm Under Strain
Close Friends of Sir Frederick Hurry to Home When News is Telephone From Ottawa
News of her husband's tragic death in the crash of an England-bound bomber was broken to Lady Banting by Dr. Duncan Graham, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and one of Sir Frederick Banting's closest friends.
Dr. Graham hastened to the Banting residence on Rosedale Heights drive on receipt of a late afternoon telephone call from Ottawa, informing him of Sir Frederick's death and requesting that he tell Lady Banting.
Dr. F. W. W. Hipwell, Sir Frederick's cousin, also hurried to the house, where Lady Banting was waiting with her sister, miss Eleanor Ball, of Montreal; Mrs. Hipwell and Mrs. E. L. Ruddy."
Lady Banting had known since Friday that the plane was missing, but had steadfastly remained confident that all would be well. "Wonderful! Wonderful!" she exclaimed when the Telegram gave her first news late yesterday afternoon that the plane had been discovered down on the coast of Newfoundland and that there were footmarks around it. After that, however, she seemed to lost the confidence which she had previously held, and kept warning her sister: "We mustn't hope too much. Perhaps he isn't safe."
When the news came, it was terrible blow on top of the long strain, but Lady Banting took it bravely without collapse.
SON IS TOLD
Sir Frederick's 11-year-old son, William Robertson (Bill) Banting, and their 10-year -old war guest, David Haworth, son of an English university professor, had gone from Whitney School to their teacher's for dinner. There Bill received the news of his father's death by telephone. Dr. Hipwell then drove the two boys tot he Banting house, but it was thought best for them to go tot Mr. and Mrs. Ruddy's home for the night.
Bill Banting was named for both his grandparents - William Robertson and William Banting. He will be 12 in April.
Before leaving for his trip to England, his father told Bill that he was going by bomber, and added: "I don't mind telling you, my boy, that I'm a bit scared." But then he told him how safe it was, and how wonderful it would be to get over so quickly and what an experience it would be.
First of Insulin Patients Grieved at Banting Death
A Toronto man whose useful life has already been prolonged for 18 years by the Banting discovery, and who was one of the first to receive the insulin treatment for diabetes, sat down quietly last night and told a reporter what insulin had meant to him and to humanity - how grieved he was that Sir Frederick Banting was dead.
"It is a personal experience with me," he said, "and I have seen what it has meant to many others. In the United States alone between three and four per cent of the population (or approximately 4,00,000 persons) suffer from diabetes. The incidence in Canada is something less, but it occurs the world over. Not all of these persons take insulin regularly, thousands, perhaps millions, in the western civilized world.
"Dr. Banting's discovery meant that where formerly they had only a few months, or perhaps a year of so to live, they can go on indefinitely living lives that are practically normal.
"to me, the gift of insulin is a thing apart in its relation to children. With adults, we might say that they have seen life and that their loss is not so tragic. But with a child it is far different. Life stretches attractively ahead. There are good things to eat, and see and do.
A diabetic child now has, in a sense, an advantage over other children. Not only is life, and a nearly normal life, still possible, but the very treatment for diabetes imposes two sacrifices most of us do not learn until we are in our twenties. The diabetic child is taught that certain things may not be eaten, and he or she is taught to bear the pain of the treatment. Learning to be hurt and learning to give up good things to eat are not easy for children.
"But to see in diabetic children, given the gift of life through insulin, the many qualities they develop while so young is a touching thing in itself. It is literally true now that nobody, given proper treatment, dies from diabetes. Some persons die from complications that set in but, with proper and early treatment, a happy and virtually normal life is possible.
"I said Dr. Banting's death was a personal thing with me. I have suffered from diabetes for 22 years, and for the last 18 the suffering has been minimized, and life has been attractive, thanks to Dr. Banting and his discovery."
Banting Loss Irreplaceable London Newspapers' Tribute
London, Feb. 25 - London's morning newspapers paid tribute to Sir Frederick Banting, c-discoverer of insulin, killed in the crash of an airplane that was taking him on a mission to Britain, as a man whose death will be an irreplaceable loss to the medical profession.
The Daily Express called his death a disaster of the first magnitude to medical science," and described him as a "Man against death."
Word of Sir Frederick's death was received too late for general comment, but the story of the accident was featured prominently on the front pages of most papers.
Guy Ramsey, in a feature article in the News Chronicle on the man "who brought life to 200,000 diabetics every year" said; "Banting is immortal - for he lives through millions still alive an millions yet to be born."
"Wherever one diabetic is alive that would without insulin have been dead; wherever one diabetic is active where he would without insulin have been passive - there Frederick Grant Banting, Nobel prize winner, K.B.E. in 1934, F.R. S. in 1935, is still alive," Ramsey added.
The Canadian scientist's last visit to England a year ago as a major attached to the Canadian Forces was recalled by the Press Association, which recounted how when he came to London said:
"I am in London because the Empire is fighting Hitlerism and Hitlerism is my enemy too."
Charmed Life is Credited to Pilot of Banting Plane.
Columbus, O., Feb. 25 - An anxious mother is finding it hard to agree with friends that her stunt pilot son is leading a "charmed life."
Mrs. B. C. Mackey said to-day the knowledge that her son, Capt. Joseph C. Mackey, alone had survived a plane accident win which Sir Frederick Banting was killed in Newfoundland was a great relief, but that she still was greatly concerned.
"I can't believe he escaped without a scratch," she said.
Mrs. Mackey said she learned form her daughter-in-law in Montreal by telephone that Mackey had been rescued.
Friends of the internationally known stunt pilot expressed confidence, however, that Mackey's luck had held and recalled several of his "close calls."
One was in 1935 during a flight near Dayton when a piece of cowling knocked Mackey unconscious, but he recovered in time to regain control of his ship.
In 1936 at Findlay, O., where he operated an airport for four years, a piece of tubing jammed controls of his stunt plane while in a barrel roll only 200 feet off the ground, but somehow Mackey managed to land.
During the Thompson Trophy race at the 1939 Cleveland air races, Mackey was piloting one of speed flyer Roscoe Turner's ships when a piston blew out, but he stayed in the race and finished sixth. Turner, who described Mackey as one of the best pilots he has seen, expressed amazement that Mackey escaped a crackup.
Although fond of taking great risks, Mackey's control of his ships was so complete that he is numbered among winners of the Freddie Lund Trophy for precision stunt flying.
He was an accomplished sky writer and turned out a book on the subject.
William Snailham, of Bedford, Nova Scotia, radio operator on the military plane on which Sir Frederick Banting was a passenger, who, along with Sir Frederick and navigator William Bird, lost his life in the crash.
Banting Great Canadian and Leader in Research Fellow-Physicians Agree
Say Sir Frederick Initiated Study in medical Field Created by Aviation
Leaders in medical circles in Toronto last night paid high tribute to the life and work of Sir Frederick Banting who met tragic death in a plane crash in Newfoundland. Immediate friends and associates of Dr. Banting were shocked at the news from the east, for all day yesterday high hopes had been held that he and his three companions would be found.
When word was received late yesterday afternoon that the wrecked Banting plane had been located members of Sir Frederick's family and his friends here were elated and waited confidently for news of his rescue.
I can't believe it's true, Dr. Charles H. Best, life-long friend and co-worker of Sir Frederick Banting told the Telegram last night when informed of the death of the noted scientist.
He was indeed a wonderful man I've never admired him more than during the past few months, with all the risks he took.
Dr. Best, like relatives and close friends of the late scientist, had clung tenaciously to the hope that the sole survivor of the tragedy, whose identity was unknown for some hours, might have been Dr. Banting.
It is a severe loss to Canadian medical science, he said. The formation of the National Research medial Research, of which he was chairman, was his own idea. He was very enthusiastic about it and actually compelled the Federal government to adopt it.
WORKING FOR FLYERS
Dr. Best explained that the work of the committee was the studying of "aviation" medicine for the benefit of airmen of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. He said the committee was conduction physiological effects of blacking out when flyers went into steep banks or dives; the effects of rarified atmosphere on pilots and other similar tests. Dr. Banting, he said, had done a great deal of work on the pilot-testing machine in use at the No. 1 Initial Training Station at the Eglinton Hunt Club.
One of his last efforts on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, in which he was vitally interested, was to sit as chairman at a conference of government men and Red Cross officials at Ottawa a few months ago in which the nationwide blood bank scheme was discussed, said Dr. Best.
History alone would record the lost which medicine and humanity have sustained in Dr. Banting's death, Dr. Duncan Graham, president of the Canadian Medical Association and vice-chairman of Sir Frederick's research committee on aviation and medicine, said last night.
DEVOTED LIFE TO RESEARCH
We all know of Sir Frederick Banting's research in connection with insulin, Dr. Graham said. Since then, he has devoted his life to research and organized the Department of Medical Research at the University of Toronto. Dr. Banting did valuable research in the silicosis field and with the cancer commission. He was engaged in the latter work when war broke out. He visited all the universities in Canada and stimulated their interest and work on medical research.
Before the outbreak of this war, Sir Frederick became very interested in what medical science might be able to offer in the special medical field created by aviation. He had taken steps to organize a committee on aviation research, and was chairman of this committee. He gathered about him many workers, and history alone will record what contribution he has made in this field. We cannot measure the loss to his university, his country, the Empire and humanity, Dr. Graham said.
Among his colleagues and confreres it was hoped that he discovery of the missing plane would be followed by good news, said Dr. Harris Mcphedran, president-elect of the Ontario medical Association.
It fills us all with unspeakable sadness that such is not true; that Fred Banting is among the dead - the one, who through his discovery of insulin, made life possible and happy for thousands of all nations. Science is the poorer through his loss, especially at this time and so also are his friends and colleagues, who loved him for his worth and his friendship. I can only say: Ave atque vale.
WAS SKILLED SURGEON
Dr. Banting's skill in surgery, and the part this played in the discovery of insulin was stressed by Dr. Douglas E. S . Robertson, surgeon-in-chief of the Hospital for Sick Children.
Dr. Banting was the first resident surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, and he was undoubtedly one of the best, Dr. Robertson said. His surgical friends always felt that his surgical skill was a factor which allowed him to do successfully the experimental work which resulted in the discovery of insulin. The type of surgery in this experimental work was of an extremely technical nature, and demanded a high degree of technical skill. HE was the most stimulating man I ever knew. On every occasion on which I met him, he would enthuse me over some new question.
The whole medical profession, and all his friends outside the profession, realize the irreparable loss that humanity has sustained.
Canada has lost a great man, declared the Hon. Harold Kirby, Ontario Minister of Health. Dr. Banting the Minister said was closely associated with the Ontario Department of Health and I am deeply grieved at his tragic passing. Diabetic sufferers throughout the world will long pay tribute to Sir Frederick Banting His contribution to humanity was great.
A GREAT SON OF CANADA
Hospitals throughout Canada have suffered an irreparable loss in the death of Sir Frederick Banting, declared Dr. Havey Agnew, secretary of the Canadian Hospital Council.
Not a day passes but we see some patient making their recovery which would not have been possible without insulin. Sir Frederick Banting's less spectacular work, too, has marked him as one of Canada's greatest sons.
Sir Robert Falconer, former president.
There was an undercurrent of gravity to the joking which accompanied the taking of pictures of Sir Frederick Banting by an amateur photographer friend in the living room of the Banting residence last Saturday night, on the eve of his last fatal journey. He and his wife and the close friends present fully realized the gravity of the trip before him. These pictures show the late great scientist seated on the chesterfield, wearing comfortable housecoat instead of his military tunic, and then in full uniform - tunic donned amid his mild protest about "all this bother." The other picture of Sir Frederick, taken just before the war, is a favorite of his wife. Lady Banting is also shown in a recent picture. The boy is Sir Frederick's only son, 11-year-old William Robertson (Bill) Banting. The map show where the ill-fated military plane crashed on the east coast of Newfoundland.
Banting Took Air and Tank War Strains
Was Hurrying to Britain With Discoveries in Combating Human Stresses - Huge Loss to Nation
Ottawa, Feb. 25 - Dean C. J. Mackenie, acting president of the National Research council, last night described the insistence of Sir Frederick Banting to get back to Britain with new medical knowledge from Canada and the United States insistence indirectly responsible for his death.
Close associate of Sir Frederick in his research into war medical problems, Dean Mackenzie described the 48-year-old Toronto scientist as the ace co-ordinator of information gathered throughout he Empire, particularly in connection with aviation problems.
Sir Frederick, whose death in an airplane crash in Newfoundland while en route to Britain on research work became known to-day went to Britain on similar mission in 1939.
He remained there several months, He visited research centres and was able to tell them what progress had been made in Canada and how to link it up with British developments.
Dr. Banting was insistent to get back tot he United Kingdom in time to bring them the things he had learned in Canada and the United States, and to be there if Germany launches an invasion attempt, Dean Mackenzie said.
After the outbreak of war the Banting Institute laboratory in Toronto was turned over to the research in aviation medicine with Sir Frederick as chairman of the associate committee on aviation medicine. It became his pet line of research.
He would go up in a plane as high as it could go to discover the effect of the lack of oxygen on the pilot, said Dean Mackenzie. He insisted in diving to see the effect of dive bombing on the bomber crews. He did everything a plane can do in the air in his study to discover means to counteract the heavy strains on humans in these unusual circumstances.
Recently Sir Frederick spent days with tanks going through all the experiences associated with tank warfare. Then he sought out men to study the medical problems involved.
We cannot go into detail about what he discovered. Dean Mackenzie said, but when the time does come and his contribution can be adequately assessed, it will be clear that no one had done more for our cause.
I have no hesitation in saying Canada could have suffered no greater individual loss.
TOWER OF STRENGTH
As a member of the National Research Council he has been a tower of strength, Dean Mackenzie said. Enthusiastic for and devoted to all forms of research, he brought a fund of information and a fertile, imaginative mind to bear on every phase of the council's work.
The work will associate his greatness with insulin. His friends who have seen him grow in stature with the years will think of his work during the past 18 months with even greater regard. He threw himself into the fight the day war broke out and his attention has never strayed for a moment from the central objective of winning the war.
With complete disregard for personal comfort of safety, he spared himself nothing. He even seemed to court danger and asked no one to do anything involving risk which he did not first do himself.
He was an unusual composite - an idealist and a practical soldier; a country doctor and a distinguished medical scientist; a real artist, but above all an explorer and adventurer in all fields of thought and action. He went on his last mission and to his death out of a stern sense of duty.