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W.A.F. Balfour-Browne

Obituary, Transactions, Series III, Vol. XLIV, pp.226-7

Professor Balfour-Browne, who died suddenly in Edinburgh on 28th September, 1967, in his 93rd year, was not only one of the most distinguished entomologists of his generation, but played an important part as Secretary and as President in our Society's affairs at a difficult period in its history.

Born in London in 1874, Professor Balfour-Browne studied at Magdalene College, Oxford, gaining second-class Honours in Botany in 1896. He was called to the Bar in 1898, but returned to Oxford to study zoology the following year, and two years later went to the Marine Biological Association's Laboratory at Plymouth as assistant naturalist. Director of the Sutton Broad Laboratory in Norfolk for a period, he was subsequently naturalist to Ulster Fishery and Biology Department in Northern Ireland: Assistant in Biology at Queen's University, Belfast, lecturer in entomology in the Department of Zoology at Cambridge University, Professor of Entomology at the Imperial College of Science and Technology from 1925 to 1930, and President of the Royal Microscopical Society from 1934 to 1935.

He was the author of a number of works dealing with insects, among them a "Text-book of Practical Entomology" and "Concerning the Habits of Insects," plus many scientific papers, mainly on entomology — and of course his "The Aquatic Coleoptera of the Solway Up to Date" in our own Transactions, volume XXIII.

Retiring to his ancestral area, he joined our Society in 1941, and took over the Secretaryship from Mr — later Dr R.C. Reid in March 1943, in the rniddle of the difficult war years, holding that post until his election as President in October, 1949. His energy and organising skill stood him in good stead in this position: the Society's Rules were thoroughly reorganised and its affairs placed on a businesslike footing. Those of us who were members of the Society's Council in those years can well remember that energy, and the wealth of experience which lay behind all his suggestions. His year of office as President was a very active one for the Society, as Volume XXVIII shows.

Many of our memhers will remember the hospitality shown by the Professor and Miss Burnand when the Society paid a visit to Brocklehirst on a delightful early-summer afternoon a few years ago.

Professor Balfour-Browne represented our Society for many years at the annual meetings of the British Association, and by his exceptional span of life formed a link with the age of Professor Scott-Elliot and Sir Hugh Gladstone, two other great naturalists, like him with strong local connections, and followed their tradition of work for our Society.

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