Dr Harold Percy Crampton

Personal Details 

Dr Harold Percy Crampton MA MD FFARCS MRCS LRCP DA

16/09/1878 to 17/09/1969

Place of birth: Penge, Kent

Nationality: British

CRN: 715243

Education and qualifications

General education

Brighton College; Cambridge University; the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, winning prizes for pharmacology and practical surgery

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MA, Cambridge, 1904; MBBCh, Cambridge, 1907; MD, Cambridge, 1911

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualifying, Crampton entered general practice, but with clinical assistantships at Middlesex, Chelsea Hospital for Women and Great Ormond Street Hospitals, the appointment to the latter leading to his MD thesis on marasmus. In 1908 he was appointed anaesthetist to the Central London ENT Hospital & the National Children’s Home, and later to St Luke’s Hospital, but his career was interrupted by WW1 when he served, 1915-19, as an anaesthetist on the Western Front with the rank of Captain. He returned to the Middlesex as assistant anaesthetist, retaining his involvement with St Luke’s Hospital and general practice after being appointed to the full honorary staff in 1922. During WW2 he worked with the Emergency Medical Service at the Middlesex’s ‘sector’ hospital, Mount Vernon, retiring two years later than usual in 1945.

Professional interests and activities

A skilled clinician, Crampton maintained that the immediate postoperative period was the responsibility of the anaesthetist. He was an expert with the open mask and Clover inhaler, but his receptive mind meant that, unlike many contemporaries, he readily acquired new skills such as tracheal intubation and intravenous induction. A superb teacher, his sympathetic and generous personality cut through the hierarchy of the time so that many students and housemen remembered his help with gratitude. His aphorisms were famous, notably “The anaesthetist’s personality is non-toxic – it does not throw a strain on the liver or kidneys, neither does it depress respiration” – no wonder that he was well known for his handling of nervous patients! He published widely, notably writing the chapter on ‘Anaesthesia’ in the official history of WW1, and contributed to the organisations of both profession and specialty. Before WW1 he was a member of the Medical Society of London & secretary of the Hampstead Medical Society, and after it an active member of the anaesthetic section of the RSM (President 1934/5). He was one of the small group who attended the first meeting which led to the establishment of the AAGBI in 1932 and served on its Council (1934-7). He was awarded the DA ‘without examination’ in 1935.

Other biographical information

He married Muriel Emily Tindal-Atkinson in 1905, and they had one son, Paul. Harold retired to a quiet life in Sussex.

Author and sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. Anaesthesia 1970; 26: 149-50 | The Medical Directory | www.tollis.com