Douglas Cameron, widely known as "Duggie," did not start playing cello until he was 15 years old, but two years later he won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music. After he graduated, he earned positions in the Kutcher String Quartet and Henry Wood's Orchestra.
When Pablo Casals, standing in the wings to make his own appearance later, heard Cameron play the solo cello part in Rossini's William Tell Overture, the great Catalan cellist said, "That boy will make good!" Later, the two became friendly and Casals invited him to represent England in a Casals International Festival the year it was held in Israel.
Cameron was particularly fond of chamber playing. He was cellist of the Blech Quartet and then a founding member of the New London String Quartet. He married a cellist Lilly Phillips in 1924.
He went into teaching at the age of 25, becoming a professor at the Royal College of Music. His studied the interpretation and technical details of the Elgar cello concerto with Elgar himself. Although he gave up his orchestral position in favor of teaching, chamber music, and solo concerts and recitals, he re-entered that field when touring opportunities closed down during World War II. He then returned to the orchestra as principal cellist of the National Symphony Orchestra. This arrangement also included making appearances in many concertos and he was particularly esteemed for his playing of the Elgar concerto.
Later, his daughter Fiona, a pianist, became his recital partner. Highly regarded as Cameron was as a player, he was particularly treasured as a teacher. Emanuel Feuermann used to sit in on his classes and adopted some of his approaches to teaching. Unlike many other leading cellists, he did not restrict his teaching to the potential stars of tomorrow. He accepted pupils of various degrees of potential, but he had a gift of inspiring and teaching them to live up to it. He was noted for never imposing a particular school of playing or style of expression on his students. The French cellist Paul Tortelier was once a jurist on a competition at the Royal Academy of Music, where just about every cellist in the place was vying for the prize. Impressed with their uniformly high level and many different styles, he asked them who the teacher of each was and said he could scarcely believe it when most of them named Cameron.