to Frank Edward Bourne
11am, on the 7th April, 2001 a Blue Plaque was erected at 16 Kings
Hall Road, Beckenham to commemorate the time that Frank
Edward Bourne resided at the address. The ceremony was presided
over by The Mayor, Councillor David Crowe and the plaque was unveiled
by HRH Prince Velekhaya Shange and Mr Douglas Bourne (both decendents
of those involved in the encounter at Rorke's
Among the guests
were Councillors from The
Borough of Bromley, Jacqui Lait MP, Col Barker (Military Attaché
- South African High Commission), Colonel Robin Godwin-Austen (Commanded
the 1st Batallion, The Royal Regiment of Wales. His great uncle
was killed at the battle of Isandhlwana),
a number of ex-24th Regiment, South Wales Borderers soldiers, John
Young, and members of the Die Hard's re-enactment group.
For a full list
of those who attended, contact us.
Members of the
Die Hards and ex-24th Regiment, South Wales Borders.
In his speech,
The Mayor spoke of how Frank Bourne
was a man of his time, who held dearly to Queen and Country. He
also spoke of how the attributes of honour, loyalty, bravery, dedication
and self-sacrifice were part of Frank Bourne's nature.
was born in Balcombe Sussex, 1855. He enlisted into the army on
18th December 1872. Within three years he had made the rank of Corporal
and three years later was promoted to Colour Sergeant. After the
Battle of Rorke's Drift, Frank Bourne was awarded the Distinguished
Conduct Medal, along with an offer of an immediate commission, which
went on to serve in India and Burma. He was commissioned as a Quartermaster
in 1890. In 1893 he was promoted to Adjutant of the School of Musketry
at Hythe. He retired from the army in 1907. During the First World
War, at the age of 60, he rejoined the forces to become Ajutant
of the School of Musketry in Dublin.
At the end of
the First World War, he was given the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
and appointed OBE.
died on V.E Day, 8th May 1945 at the age of 90.
The Mayor, Douglas
Bourne, HRH Prince Shange, The Mayoress and Councillor Hawthorne.
He is buried
with his wife Eliza in the Elmers End Cemetery. Frank was the last
defender of Rorke's Drift to
die. Frank and his wife made their home in Beckenham from 1909 to
1931, with his longest period being at 16 Kings Hall Road. Shortly
after the death of Eliza, he moved to live with his daughter in
Mr and Mrs Martin
Clark, with their family - the present owners.
Hawthorne, the Chairman of the Environmental Sub-Committee, explained
that the council normally erects one or two plaques each year. When
the shortlist of 16 names arrived before the committee, he explained
that there was a unanimous agreement that Frank Edward Bourne should
be the first choice for 2001.
have been erected in Bromley to such people as W.G Grace, H.G Wells,
Enid Blyton and Walter de la Mare, to name but a few.