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Biographical entry Hector, Francis John (1894 - 1977)

MRCS 1922; FRCS 1932; MB BCh Bristol 1923; LRCP 1922.

15 October 1894
11 November 1977


Francis John Hector was born in Bristol on October 15 1894. He was educated at Bristol, King's College, the Middlesex Hospital and Guy's Hospital and qualified MRCS LRCP in 1922 and was appointed consulting gynaecologist to the Bristol United Hospital. A man of many great abilities and diverse interests, he was a complicated character and few of his colleagues and acquaintances really knew all the many facets of his personality. As a medical student he excelled in amateur theatricals. Though outwardly a carefree student, not one of his colleagues knew that he was a 'moonlighter', who held a job after academic hours that enabled him to meet the financial cost of his education. There was no state aid then, and his mother was widowed. In his early years there was a continual struggle against poverty, which led to a great deal of self-reliance and determination, culminating in a certain rigidity, even hardness, in his personality. On his own initiative he acquired a considerable knowledge of the Graeco-Roman classics and of Gothic archaeology, and amassed a valuable library in these subjects.

Hector was a rigid traditionalist who believed in self-help. He resented State interference in medicine and resisted the many changes. He was a harsh opponent of the introduction of the NHS. Taking his cue from his beloved teacher, Victor Bonney, he also disapproved of the institution of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and stubbornly refused to apply for recognition even against the advice of his close friends. He was a successful practitioner of his art and had a large practice in the West of England, being very popular with his patients and students, though not always with his colleagues and seniors.

Another of his absorbing interests was freemasonry in which he rose to high rank and was for many years a provincial grand master. Hector never married, and when possible he travelled widely, having previously studied his Baedeker from cover to cover. He maintained his theatrical interests, and was very active in the work of the Bristol Amateur Operatic Company. His life was consequently compartmentalised to an unusual degree. With his passing, Bristol lost an able many-sided figure, something of an eccentric but a stout friend of those whom he really trusted and admired. He died on 11 November 1977, aged 83 years.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1977, 2, 1598].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England