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DateOriginal Topic
4th February 2005SSgt Bourne
By Paul Cubbin
He seems a fascinating character - young for his rank and by all accounts very self assured, oozing with calm confidence. How much us known of his life prior to RD that caused him to reach such a high rank so quickly? Also, how was his service record after? There must have been plenty of scope for a successful and active military career in Victoria's Army - did continue to pursue this or had he got his fill of action?
4th February 2005Paul Cubbin
The above Topic Title should of course be CSgt Bourne - sorry. And a couple of errors in the text, too....I''m going back to bed....
4th February 2005Richard
If you look on the other defenders page on this site you'll see more info on CSGT Bourne. One of the reasons he was a CSGT at 24(I doubt if anyone else has been a substantive CSGT at 24), was that he was literate.
5th February 2005Graham Mason
DEAR Paul ,
Frank Bourne DCM is one of those men whose name will live on forever in folklore , i was fortunate to have visited his grave and realised he was the last one of that band leave this world in 1945 , light years away from that fateful day in 1879 . At 23 he must of been about the youngest man of that rank in Victorias army and although he did not have experience on his side he had many an old " sweat " to turn to for advice . The troops called him the " Kid " and he had such a colourful career ending up as a Lt Col , not bad at all . I amongst others am lucky to have met his grandson Douglas and what a nice man he is , getting that trait no doubt from his father and grandfather . In the next life i hope to say hello to FRANK Bourne DCM and ask him all about a certain day in Jan 1879 , Graham .
5th February 2005Peter Ewart

Without a shadow of doubt Frank Bourne's greatest attribute - one for which he can claim no credit but which, nevertheless, stood him AND his men in good stead that day - was that he was a Man of Sussex.

As such, it would have been second nature for him to be stubborn; to refuse to budge; to decline to bow to the "inevitable" - in other words, to show the calm steadiness in a crisis for which the British infantryman was renowned, only - in Bourne's case - taken to a much higher degree because of his South Saxon blood. Dash? Not from a Sussex man. Steadiness? Every time.

I don't know about the Taffies singing "Men of Harlech" or the Rev Smith shouting "Don't swear boys!" but I have always seen Bourne muttering under his breath in his broad mid-Sussex accent as the Zulus bore down on the mealie bags:

"You may push and you may shov
But I'm hemmed if I'll be druv,
For Sussex will be Sussex
And Sussex won't be druv."

Thank God there was a Sussex man to lead the 24th that day. (Not trying to "own" the battle - just one of them!)

You can always tell a Sussex man (but you can't tell him much!)

5th February 2005Paul Cubbin
Peter - are you SURE he wasn't Welsh? If even one of his grandparents was, we could get him on eligibility grounds?!!
6th February 2005Martin Everett
There other sergeant at RD were 'high flyers'
Wilson 1/24 was promoted Sgt at age 22. Gallagher was also a Sgt at 22 years.
Maxfield was only 21 years. The old man at was Windridge although he had first promoted Sgt in 1862 at the age 21 years and was QMS at age 22. There was a lot of talent at RD - not just Bourne.