Frank's adventures turned up in a Cumbrian junkshop, and the travel reports written by the six friends ( including a Ross) have led so far to one academic paper on the politics of leisure, and, of course, riveting research on the experiences of the six backpackers - in 1912 & 14 - 18. Fred, who booked their train and ferry tickets is listed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Frank - d 1984 - became a conscientious objector. a third man served as a stretcher bearer, losing most of his sight. One of the girls worked at Netley. They all had German friends, the group belong to an internationalist society, supported by many key early 20th C people - The founder was active in diplomatic efforts to prevent WWI. His close friend Macdonald was an active supporter, as was sir patrick Geddes, and the Nobel peace prize winner, Norman Angell.
Frank's ' Liebe Freunde' material and the travel book suggest a very different 20th C
Any information on F.R.Bourne will be extremely welcome. I know his surviving godson, daughter and grandson. The godson knew from his parents - ( stretcher bearer & Netley) that Frank had a very good job pre-war, but as a c.o, was dismissed.
The Admiralty must be investigated, obviously, but it's slow work, and I live in the Border TV area.
All descendants - the Somme casualty left none - have agreed that any cash for publication/broadcasts will go to charities working in war/diaster areas - red Cross, MSF...
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There is an S.J. Bourne in the Record of Service who was at CH 1897-1901 in Ward XIII. He served in the RNVR and is annotated as having been a PoW but without further details. He is not on the Roll of Honour, so I presume that he survived the war. Possibly a brother?
I have to admit that I find your message a but difficult to follow, which is probably my fault! Who was Fred and how does he fit into this? Also, I am unclear as to why the Admiralty needs to be investigated.
I am always pleased to help wherever I can so do not hesitate to contact me again. I am a fairly experienced researcher, familiar with the National Archives, etc. One chap you might try is Rex Sweeny, an Old Blue with postiviely encyclopaedic knowledge of Old Blue affairs. He would almost certainly be able to tell you whether there is an obituary in The Blue somewhere, particularly if his death was as recent as 1984. Ask Wendy in the CHA office how to get into contact with him.
If you need some work done at the National Archives (NA), I make use of an excellent researcher, whose charges are extremely reasonable and can give you her name and contact details, if you wish. She is particularly good at lateral thinking and finds stuff in the most unlikely places. For example, if your chap was a conscientious objector then he would almost certainly be mentioned in one or more files in the NA and if he is then Pauline will find him - guaranteed.
I presume that your Bourne was at CH from about 1897/8-ish (the same time as SJ Bourne!?). In that case his CH papers will be in the CH records in the Manuscript section of the Guildhall Library (they have them up to 1902, after which the records are at Horsham). They are delightful people and very helpful. See http://www.history.ac.uk/gh/contact.htm What I suggest you do (if you want to, of course) is to e-mail them with your man's name and Housie dates, and ask them what they can tell you about him on their free service. Depending on what they tell you, it is then up to you if your want to pursue the matter.
Please do not hesitate to come back to me if your have any more questions - and also to shed some light on Fred and the Admiralty!
First - So far as I can tell, the S.J. Bourne isn't a brother - F.R.'s brother was George, who died young ( diabetes)
Fred was the man who booked all their tickets to France - Frederick Pulford, b. Tottenham, family returned to their native Liverpool, ed. Liverpool Institute, and in L'pool, he and F.R.Bourne were close friends - ( the other 4 backpackers were Liverpool born - Liverpool schools )In 1914, Fred enlisted at once .
I wondered about the admiralty because of Bourne's prowess at maths and other skills - The 1912 sighting of a British warship in the channel prompted reference to their ' military expert' - which suggests some connection with the Navy or Army -
Thank-you for your suggestions. I've been speaking again to Frank Bourne's grandson, but neither he nor his mother has any further information.
In the Greater Manchester record office, there are fascinating records re the 1911 Agadir crisis, relating to the international backpacking club Bourne and his friends then belonged to. There's political engagement to Westminster level - one day, I'll make time to investigate the parliamentary archives on this.
Thank-you again for your help - day job now beckons...
Thank-you very much for the information re your researcher - I'm sure she's excellent, but at present, my finances are stretched to breaking point by student offspring . Robert Ridley
Thanks for that. I do suggest you contact Rex Sweeny, as he has an extraordinarily deep knowledge of school and partiicularly Old Blue affairss over the past 50-60 years and would be able to tell you whether your chap has ever featured in The Blue.
Diary discovery to the past
From the archive, first published Wednesday 25th Jan 2006.
AN ESCAPADE on foreign soil, drinking cider and travelling on foot until they found a place to stay for the night may not sound an unusual way to spend the summer holiday for a group of young friends - but in 1912 it was not 'the done thing.'
Today's youth may have thought that they invented the backpacking trip and the gap year but a dusty book discovered in a junk shop in Cumbria has proved that adventuring abroad took place as far back as pre-First World War.
The typed and bound 'Six Nomads In Normandy' was found sitting hidden on a shelf by Rosamund Ridley from Kendal, who immediately became fascinated by the tale told by four men and two women from Merseyside of their trip across northern France.
Mrs Ridley said: "I was actually looking for an unusual present for my brother when I came across the book tucked away in a junk shop.
"It's written as a diary with each of the young people taking turns to write an account. They tell a story which sounds remarkably 21st century. The book includes their own photographs and postcards and an excellent hand-drawn map of the region they visited.
"They describe how they crossed the Channel and turned right from Le Havre, walking through what would later become D-Day country. Astonishing their French hosts they could cover twenty miles and more in a day, on foot.
"They talk of admiring the poppies and poignantly the diary ends with a toast - with Normandy cider - to 'long life and happy, happy days'.
"But what struck me, and my teenage daughters when they saw the book, was how we wondered what had happened to these carefree young men and women when they returned home."
Mrs Ridley, a retired history lecturer, has spent the last year uncovering how the young people's lives unravelled after their return to British shores, studying war memorials and local records.
Having spoken to the families of Alexander Westmore and Fred Pulford from West Derby, Liverpool, and Gladys Gleave and Emma Irving from Wallasey she has been able to put together a picture of the friends and their lives.
Yet she has still been unable to contact the family of Ross Irving from the Lake District and Francis Ramsey Bourne, an employee of Unilever who was born in Spitalfields, London in 1887 but who spent most of his life in Greasby and Birkenhead.
"It was so interesting to find out what had happened to these young men and women and in some ways it was sad too," she said.
"One of the men is on a memorial to the Missing of the Somme while Gladys married Alec who was a stretcher bearer until he was seriously wounded in 1918.
"He wrote his own private account of the war, which I showed to his son Norman. At the age of 81 he was able to read what his father had written in 1928."
Mrs Ridley has now taken on the youngsters' tale and feels compelled to finish the story of their lives. She hopes to publish the story in 2007 with royalties from book sales donated to the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres.
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