Surgeon Major Francis Stephen Bennet Francois de Chaumont was born in Edinburgh of a French father and a Scottish mother.
He was educated in the High School and University of that city. After passing through the arts and medical classes with distinction, he obtained his degree with honours, and entered the medical service of the army.1
In 1885, Surgeon Major de Chaumont served in the Crimean Campaign with the Rifle Brigade. He was in the siege and fall of Sebastopol and received the medal with clasp and the Turkish Medal.
On the removal of the Army Medical School from Chatham to Netley, Surgeon Major de Chaumont was appointed Assistant
Professor of Military Hygiene, under Dr Edmund Alexander Parkes. In this position he not only assisted his principal in the laborious duty of teaching in the laboratory of the School, but did an immense amount of extra work for Government in the way of analysis, reporting on hospitals and barracks, contributing to the departmental Blue Book, and papers to scientific journals on health issues. He also instructed young officers of the Royal Engineers at the School of Military Engineering at Chatham on military hygiene, so far as concerned the health arrangements and construction of military buildings. His lectures were highly valued, not only by the young officers, but also by their seniors.1
On the death of Professor Parkes, Surgeon Major de Chaumont was, with the concurrence of the other professors and the
whole service, appointed his successor. The Professor felt aggrieved with the terms of his appointment. He felt that the Government had driven a hard bargain with him, ignoring his previous military service, exacting much and giving little. What Surgeon Major de Chaumont deemed unjust treatment was keenly felt by him to the last, and must be regarded as one more example of the little appreciation by the Government of the day, of scientific merit, particularly in the ranks of the medical departments of the public service.1
Surgeon Major de Chaumont was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 12 June 1879.
He was facile princeps in his own department, and was acknowledged to be so throughout Europe, and in the United States of America more particularly. His scientific knowledge, far from being confined to his own branch, was large and accurate; he delighted in mathematical science, in which he excelled. He was an accomplished linguist, familiar with all the modern languages, and a master of philology. He delighted in music, and had a Macaulay-like tenacity of memory; whatever he read he remembered, and stored in his mind with such order and method that it was available with unfailing readiness at a moment's notice.1
Among his publications was a Report on the hygienic exhibition at Berlin in 1883, AMD Report for 1882 vol XXIV. He also edited more than one edition of Parkes Manual of Practical Hygiene.