I am grateful to Margaret [Cumpston] Spencer for this account about her brother.
[Howard] Bruce Cumpston was born 5 June 1911 in Perth, Western Australia. During his early life the family moved to Melbourne, to Brisbane, and then back to Melbourne. Bruce was very much an individual, somewhat of a rebel: even at the early age of two years he would escape from his cot and climb the garden fence to watch the trams go by. At the age of five years, while the family was living in Toorak, he attended the kindergarten at Lauriston School for Girls in Malvern.
From the age of seven he attended Wesley College in Prahran, a suburb of Melbourne. In Sandringham, to which the family moved in 1920, Bruce joined John in building a massive fort out of a year's supply of firewood, from which they fought off Red Indians and other invaders. In the Cubs and Scouts the two boys learnt campcraft, also they went camping with their father to Healesville and Kangaroo Island, and were taught how to fish and shoot.
Bruce was especially fond of little sister Mary, nine months old at the time of the move to Sandringham: this relationship persisted throughout their lives. At Wesley College Bruce took up rowing and played Australian Rules football. The boys built a canvas canoe called Peanut, shaping the ribs and glueing on the canvas; when finished they paddled it out on Port Phillip Bay. They had bicycles upon which they 'dinked' their friends. Bruce took singing lessons and sang in a choir.
In 1928 Bruce began a medical course at the University of Melbourne. Compulsory military training was still in force (Until the end of 1929), and he joined the University Rifles. After he left the militia he continued range shooting. Unfortunately he failed at the end of his first year of study. He then transferred to the University of Sydney, where he found no difficulty in completing his degree courses. One of his tutors said of him, 'he is one of the best students in clinical diagnosis that I have ever had'. He played intercollegiate cricket and football and gained his University, Australian and Imperial Blues for rifle shooting. When he completed his medical courses he was selected for residency at Lewisham Hospital, Sydney. About 1939 Bruce was for a short time in the Indian Medical Service. About this time he attended a Colonial Service Course at the London School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Then he was posted to Dar-es-Salaam in the then Tanganyika Territory of British East Africa, from where he began a life of medical patrolling which continued until April 1945.
He married a Scottish nurse, Margaret McNay, in Dar-es-Salaam on 23 March 1945. They were transferred to Mauritius, where their daughter Cynthia was born on 8 April 1946. Leaving with baby Cynthia only two months old, they flew by stages to Perth and then on to Canberra, where they stayed with Bruce's parents for five months.
They then moved to Darwin, where Bruce took up a post as Medical Office at Darwin Hospital. In 1948 Bruce was posted to Brisbane as a Commonwealth Medical Officer. In 1954 when Queen Elizabeth arrived in Brisbane he was on duty as officer in charge of quarantine, and so saw the proceedings as well as having an integral role of his own. About this time he obtained permanency in the Public Service. In 1975 he was appointed Director of the Queensland Division of the Commonwealth Department of Public Health, retiring on 5 June 1976. He died 11 April 1982 and was buried in Brisbane.
See: Spencer M, John Howard Lidgett Cumpston, 1880-1954, a Biography, self¬published in a limited edition of 100 copies. I think the Wellcome Museum, London has a copy of this.