Martin Israëls, the son of a Dutch father, Herman, who came from The Hague, and an English mother, Jeannette (née Gordon), was born in Manchester and educated at Manchester Grammar School. He was a student at Manchester University, where he graduated BSc with first class honours and subsequently MB ChB in 1932. From 1933 to 1936 he held the Lady Tata research scholarship and in 1933 was appointed assistant director of the laboratory for clinical investigation. In 1940 he was awarded the Foulerton research fellowship of the Royal Society. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1940 to 1945 and reached the rank of wing commander. With the exception of those five years he spent all his working life in Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he will long be remembered with affection and respect. On his discharge from the RAF he returned to Manchester Royal Infirmary as a lecturer in haematology, and in 1948 he was appointed consultant physician to the United Manchester Hospitals. In 1962, on the retirement of JF Wilkinson, he became director of the department of clinical haematology, and in 1970 he was appointed the first professor of clinical haematology at Manchester University. He retired in 1971, but continued to live in his beloved Cheshire.
In the field of haematology Martin Israëls became a household name. He was one of the first haematologists to combine his laboratory skills with clinical acumen. He was a pioneer in the study of bone marrow changes in blood diseases, and the application of tissue culture techniques to bone marrow cells. His qualities as a teacher were outstanding and in 1964 he became the dean of postgraduate studies at Manchester University, a post which he held for five years. He was the author of many scientific papers and of several textbooks in haematology, and he was in great demand as a writer of leading articles for medical journals. His colleagues honoured him by electing him president of the Manchester Medical Society in 1971. For many years he served as an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians.
He was a quiet, cultured man with a great love of the arts. He was a member of a distinguished Dutch family of artists which included Joseph and his son, Isaac Israels, and it was a great pleasure and privilege to be conducted round the Amsterdam art galleries by Martin Israëls. In 1935 he married a kindred spirit in the form of his beloved wife, Ivy (née Wray), who herself was a devoted and accomplished artist. They had one daughter.
[Brit.med.J., 1979, 1, 1349; Lancet, 1979, 1, 937; Manchester med. Gazette, Oct 1979, 50(1)]