Francis Camps



Camps' life


Francis Edward Camps was born on 28th June 1905 at Teddington, Middlesex, England. He went to Marlborough School, and went to medical school at Guy's Hospital, qualifying in 1928.

After house jobs at Guy's, Camps went into general practice in Essex, England, and then into pathology in the Chelmsford and Essex Hospital.

After World War II, Camps started lecturing in forensic medicine at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, becoming Lecturer there in 1953, and Professor in 1963.

He was instrumental in persuading the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London to set up the Diploma in Medical Jurisprudence (DMJ), and was honorary consultant in Forensic Medicine to the army between 1964 and 1970.

Camps was a founder of the British Assocoaition in Forensic Medicine in 1950, and its President in 1958-1960. He was also a key player in the foundation of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences, and edited its journal, Medicine, Science and the Law from 1960 until his death (read a review of Volume 1 Number 1 of this Journal here).

He married three times and had five children.

Camps edited the second edition of Gradwohl's Legal Medicine (1968), and travelled widely, lecturing worldwide.

Convinced that he had inoperable cancer due to his smoking, he did not seek medical assistance, dying of a ruptured gastric ulcer at the Chelmsford and Essex Hospital on 8th July 1972.



Francis Camps sums up his fundamental philosophy of investigation as hard work, attention to detail and emotional detachment. All these he brought in full measure to his forensic work. But he brought much more. His vocation was far broader than that of mere medical detective. He was as interested in proceeding by way of the highest standards of justice as in bringing crimes home to their perpetrators and assessing guilt. He had an acute perception of what criminal justice should be in a civilised country. No reform was too modest, too pedestrian, to receive his attention if it would contribute to that great end.

Professor Sir Leon Radzinowicz 1973 in the Preface to 'Camps on crime', Camps FE 1973

Search site

© 2009 All rights reserved.