Sergeant Bourne DCM, (2459 B Co. 24th.
A ceremony to erect a Blue Plaque took place at 11am on the
7th April, 2001 at 16 King's Hall Road, Beckenham to commemorate
the time he lived at that address. Click
here for more details.
It has been suggested that Colour Sergeant Bourne DCM took
promotion instead of a VC. He ended his career as Lieutenant Colonel
Frank Bourne OBE DCM.
Directions to Memorial
He is buried
in Beckenham Cemetery and Crematorium, found on Elmers End Road
on the A214, details of location can be obtained from the lodge
on entering. Railway station close by is Birkbeck. The grave is
in plot T7, facing West, row 5 near to the war memorial. (There
is a car park).
Born in Balcombe,
Sussex in 1854. He enlisted at Reigate on 18 December 1872 aged
18 years 8 months. Promoted Corporal in 1875, Sergeant in 1878 and
Colour Sergeant in April 1878.
was aged 24 years at the time of Rorke's
Drift - certainly a regimental 'high flyer'. He was awarded the
Distinguished Conduct Medal with £10 annuity.
Drift, he served in India and Burma. Promoted Quartermaster-Sergeant
in 1884. He was offered an immediate commission after Rorke's
Drift, but he declined - however was commissioned in 1890 as
a Quartermaster. In 1893 he was appointed Adjutant of the School
of Musketry at Hythe in Kent. He retired from the Army in 1907.
During the Great War, he rejoined and became Adjutant of the School
of Musketry in Dublin.
At the end of
the war, he was given the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel and
appointed OBE. He was a mourner at many of the funerals of Rorke's
Drift defenders. In 1936, he made a radio broadcast about the defence
of Rorke's Drift; sadly no tape survives, although there is a transcript.
He was the last defender to die on VE Day 1945 - 8 May - he was
aged 91. (His medal group is in the SWB Museum Collection).
Click on the
grave inscription to zoom in,
there is another VC winner close by , George Evans. Row 1, Plot T8,
Grave 16239 who won his VC in 1916. ( Totally incidentally, there
are the graves of other famous people buried in this cemetery. W.G.Grace
the cricketer, Thomas Crapper, inventor of the water closet, Frederick
Wolsley, inventor of a sheep shearing machine and car designer
and not to be forgotten Samual Rowbotham, founder of the flat