Elected: 1962
Discipline: Earth Sciences and Chemistry
Professor Edward Howel Francis FRSE
Short, rugged, determined, and with a marvellously strong head of hair, Howel Francis stood out from the crowd. Born and brought up by his mother, the landlady of a public house in Cwmavon, South Wales, he noted that his childhood consisted of ‘learning much about people, but little of science’. Inspired by his Port Talbot school teacher, W.J. Cosgrove, a keen amateur geologist, he entered the University College Swansea (now Swansea University) in 1942 to study Geology. Neville George was his professor. He was called up for military service after two years, commissioned in the Cheshire Regiment and served in the Mediterranean. He returned to complete his degree in geology in 1949 under Professor Duncan Leitch, George having been appointed to the Chair of Geology in Glasgow in 1947. Francis was appointed to the British Geological Survey at the Edinburgh office in 1949 and joined that great geological digs commune known by most geologists in Scotland as The Warren, run by the Misses Cameron at Mayfield Terrace.

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