Frank was the son of Francis and Elizabeth Metcalfe. In 1909 the family is recorded as living at Brighton Grove, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
Frank attended the College of Medicine 1909 - 1914 and graduated with an M.B., B.S. in 1914. While studying, Frank was also a keen athlete; playing in the University rugby team and the Northumberland County team, and was a heavy-weight champion boxer. He won numerous academic prizes at the University: 3rd prize in anatomy (junior) in 1909, 2nd prize in practical physics in 1910, 3rd prize in practical physiology in 1910, 1st prize in practical histology in 1911, 1st prize for metria medica and 2nd prize in medical jurisprudence in 1912, and the prize for therapeutics in 1912-13.
Frank joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in August 1914 at the rank of Lieutenant. He was initially attached to 1st Northumbrian Field Ambulance, with whom he arrived in France with on 14th April 1915. Frank was forced to return home in September 1916 after being diagnosed with myelogenous leukaemia. In April 1917, he was posted to Catterick rather than returning to the Western Front. At his own request, ‘although he knew he had not long to live’ (Jesmond Royal Grammar School Book of Remembrance), Frank returned to France in September that year. In March 1918, Frank was involved in the retreat following Operation Michael, which resulted in the severe deterioration of his health.
Frank died after a period of severe dyspnoea in the Framlington House Hospital for Officers, Newcatle, on 10th July 1918 aged 26 years old.
Medical Gazette Vol XIX, p. 10, Obituary: ‘It is with deep regret we record the addition to our Roll of Honour of the name of Francis Metcalfe. Known probably only to the seniors of the present generation of students, for he qualified before the war, Metcalfe was one of the best known men of his own generation. He entered College in October, 1909, after winning the Pears’ Scholarship and graduated with second-class Honours in June 1914. Although he only won one scholarship during his College career- the Gibb, in 1913- and only obtained honours in his final, yet he was probably the most brilliant student of his year. He possessed great ability, but this was considerably underestimated by his contemparies, who will probably remember him better as an athlete than as a student. He played in every Don’s Cup match during his College career. He obtained his Rugby “palat” and was vice-captain of the team in 1912-13, and was one of the Varsity representatives during the same season. He was one of the originators of the great inter-college boxing match between Medicals and Armstrong College, held at St James’s Hall, in June 1912, and did more to stimulate enthusiasm in boxing than any other man of his day. During the years he sat on the Students’ Representative Council he took the keenest interest in Rugby and boxing affairs. He was amember of the old B Company of the Officers’ Training Corps, and attended camp and barracks regularly. He took a great interest in the Medical Society meetings, and demonstrated cases on several occaisons. Metcalfe joined the 1st Northumbrian Field Ambulance in September 1914, as lietenant, and was promoted to the rank of captain six months later. His sterling qualities were very soon recognised, and he was, undoubtedly, the most popular officer in the whole ambulance. He went to Flanders in April 1915, and did splendid work, was mentioned in despatches, and, undoubtedly, deserved a decoration, though he was not fortunate enough to receive one. He was invalided home in September 1916 with dysentery and spleno-medularry-leukaemia, and was treated in the 1st Northern General Hospital, at Newcastle Upon Tyne. He apparently made a good recovery, and returned to France, at his own request, in the autumn of 1917. He was through all the fighting last winter and the German offensive last March, but was invalided home shortly afterwatrds with a recurrence of the anaemia, from which he died at Framlington House, Newcastle Upon Tyne, on July 10th 1918. Metcalfe was of a very retiring disposition but the quiet exterior concealed a strength of character that he only revealed to his intimate friends. He was kind, genial, and possessed of considerable moral courage and grit and staying power; yet his outstanding characteristic was his sense of honour. No man played the game better than Francis Metcalfe, and this one realised when standing at his open grave while the “Last Post” was sounded. To his friends, at any rate, he “being dead yet speaketh,” and his memory will remain enshrined in their hearts.’