The Bomfords of Worcestershire



Extract from The Bomfords of Worcestershire by Dr BruceBomford FRCS, Salford Priors, 1983.  The work was published privately and only a few copies were made.  Re-published here with permission from Dr Bomford's sons.

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This house was a conversion of the old stables and coach house attached to Salford House, former home of the Slatter family. The house was later purchased by Mr. Harrison Walton who lived there for some years before moving to Jersey.  He sold the house to Mr. Terry Snape and the orchard to Messrs. Bryant Holdings and Messrs. Brookes Housebuilders.  A small strip of the field at the back was sold to the builders by Michael Bomford, who meanwhile had purchased the landof Slatters Farm from the Exhall Bomford daughters, Marjorie, Ruth and Betty.  Jean Bomford [nee Upward, Bruce's wife], on leave from Aden, was looking for a house and met Mr. Walton in the offices of Messrs. Locke and England, and he suggested she consider the stables block which Bryants were offering at £3,500.

Bruce Bomford was born at The Orchards and, with his brother Michael, grew up on the farm being educated by a governess and then at Miss Grove's school at Bidford.  Miss Grove lived at Harvington and used to cycle to Bidford daily, collecting Bruce at the bottom of the front drive as escort.  For lunch a short journey to a Miss Baldwin opposite the road to Alcester (Icknield Street).  At the age of nine, soon after the marriage of his mother to Gordon Cutler, Bruce joined Michael at Woodnorton Preparatory School run by Mr. C.H. Giles and Mr. Allen. Then on to Malvern College No.4 House, under Mr. O. Meade-King a Housemaster of the old school. Became Head of House, then Head of School (Senior Chapel Prefect), Captain of Football, XXII at Cricket and gained entrance to the London Hospital after taking School Certificate, Higher Certificate and Matric (London), thanks to the influence of Dr. R. R. Bomford who was already established there.  Spent one year in the students hostel, then War came and evacuation to Cambridge where medical studies continued at St. Catharines College jointly with Barts.  Took second M.B. and stayed on three months to take Primary F.R.C.S.  Then on to the sector at Billericay, Chase Farm and Connaught Hospitals.  Often had ringside view of Battle of Britain with German planes coming straight up the Thamesand the Hurricanes and Spitfires meeting them over Billericay.  Very disturbing during Prof. Clifford Wilson's dry lectures on diseases of the kidney.  Returned to The London for final year and qualified M.B., B.S., in 1943.

Did six months H.S. at The Annexe, Brentwood and met Jean Upward, staff nurse on Goschen Ward and became engaged.  Did further six months as Pathology Assistant to Dr. W. W. Woods and Prof. H. M. Turnbull.

Married at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in May 1944 and honeymoon in Cambridge where received call-up papers for the R.A.M.C.  Posted to 24 British General Hospital from R.A.M.C. Depot and sent to Normandy on d + 80.  Landed at Arromanches and set up hospital in a field outside Bayeux.  No work to do as 21st Army Group had broken through at Falaise and Caen and were on way to the Rhine.  Everyone without an Africa Star was recalled and posted with Hospital to Far East, from Watford Childrens Home.  Sailed in Dutch ship "Tegelberg" in eight ship convoy to Bombay and set up hospital town called Jallahalli of ten thousand beds prepared for casualties from anticipated invasion of Malaya.  Again no work for Doctors so became bored and applied to be surgical trainee, but H.Q. Delhi responded by sending Bruce, much to the amusement of his regular army Colonel, to jungle warfare school at Shimoga where ex-Chindits like Mike Calvert put trainees through course for patrols behind Japanese lines; very arduous.  V.E. Day celebrated while there, with much exploding of practice grenades.  Posted then to 24 Indian Field Ambulance and found Dr. Chris Bartley from The London, in a tent.

Waterproofed the vehicles for Operation "Zipper", the invasion of Malaya, but while en route in Landing Ship Infantry they dropped the two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so we landed un-opposed at Port Dickson which was just as well, a lot of vehicles getting swamped in the sea as it was.  Marched to Seremban at night, then on to Malacca for victory celebrations.  Main victory parade held at Seremban.  Plans all changed and sent to Java in six L.C.I's with one destroyer escort.  Very shaky ships built for D-day crossing to France only and here they were in Java sea!  Had a case of acute retention of urine in a Sikh gentleman, which was treated expectantly with good result.  Navy very anxious and threatened to use catheter but persuaded to desist.  Landed at Batavia, towed in by faithful destroyer when engines failed.  Spent a year in Java at Batavia, Buitenzorg, Bandung and Tjandjoer, where cut off for a time by rebel Javanese.  Went on expedition with 24 Seaforth Highlanders under officer named Kinnier Wilson, a relative of the Doctor who gave his name to the disease, to Bali on a destroyer.  Spent wonderful week in Denpasar Hotel.  Explored island and watched cock fighting and local dancing.  All wanted to stay longer but recalled by Admiral to visit Bawean Islandswhere they shot at landing party which included author.  Ordered to withdraw, forbidden to retaliate.  Navy very cross at refusal to permit bombardment.

While in Java, 23 Indian Division (The Fighting Cock) liberated 200,000mainly Dutch women and children held in camps by the Japanese, whose husbands had been sent to work on the Siam railway and other P.O.W. tasks.  They were gradually shipped to Australia to meet up with those men who had survived.  Eventually handed over all equipment to Dutch Army and unit returned to Malaya stationed in Sungei Patani and Alor Star in the north.  Used to take Lushai hockey teams to Penangto play local sides at 8. a.m.  Eventually moved to Chhangi Camp in Singapore for repatriation in R.M.S. "Andes", taking 17 days to Southampton.  Remember watching Japanese P.O.W.'s loading the ship and musing that if they worked as hard as P.O.W.'s whatever would they do as free men in Japan.  Demobbed at once and met at Leamington Spa by Jean who ran down the station after the train.  Returned to London Hospital as Demonstrator of Minor Surgery.  Then Registrar at Royal Masonic Hospital, followed by Casualty Registrar at Edgware General Hospital where Final F.R.C.S. passed.  Appointed Surgical Registrar to The Annexe, Brentwood and next as Surgical First Assistant at The London Hospital. Spent two years at King George Hospital, Ilford, doing long hours of operative surgery, then back to London Hospital as S.H.M.O. i/c Receiving Room.  Did three months locum Consultant Surgeon at Swindon,  but no permanent post available so applied to British Petroleum for post of Surgeon-in-Charge B.P. Refinery Hospital Little Aden in South Arabia.  Spent twelve years there looking after 14,000 Arab and expatriate employees and families with 120 bedded hospital.  Returned to B.P. Head Office, and after two years appointed Chief Medical Officer at Britannic House.  There, was concerned in setting up the offshore medical service for the North Sea Oil production and the terminal at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands.  Also visited B.P. medical services in West Africa, Alaska, the Middle Eastand Singapore.  Retired from B.P. on reaching age 60 years in 1979.

Bruce and Jean Bomford had two sons:-

1.    Adrian Bruce, born 15th March, 1945.

2.    Jonathan Galton, born 5th June, 1948.

While in Aden spent early leaves at The Orchards, but when Mother died the house and farm were left to Michael.  Furniture had been stored in the two nurseries and Jean decided to move to a new home.  Heard about land sold to Bryant Homes and was taken to see The Stables by Harrison Walton of Salford House before it was advertised generally.  Bruce in Aden agreed to purchase, and conversion plans drawn by Mr. Fletcher of Bull Street, Stratford-on-Avon and the work carried out by Sibbasbridge builders.  Took up residence in September, 1969.

Adrian was educated at Brentwood School gaining a place in the eleven plus examination.  He was accepted at the London Hospital Medical College and qualified M.B., B.S., in 1969.  He passed the examination for M.R.C.P. from the Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield and moved to Kings College Hospital, London, where he joined the Liver Unit and was awarded his M.D. for a thesis on research work into Ferritin and its structure.  He spent a year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston working with Prof. Hamish Munro in the Department of Nutrition, funded by the W.H.O.  Adrian married Patricia Walker from Edinburgh in 1975 and they had five children, Jamie, Douglas, the twins Dagmar and Hamish, and Fraser.

Jonathan was educated at Brentwood School and was articled to Messrs. Kingscott Dix of Evesham qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in due course.  He worked in London for Deloitte, Haskins and Sells for a year and then joined Whinney Murray, being posted to Jeddah, Nairobi, Bahrain and then Dubai.  He married Marion Marriott in 1975 and they have two sons Benjamin and Thomas.  They met in Little Aden where Marion’s father worked in the Refinery and they joined the 75 school children who regularly visited their parents flying to and fro on the so-called “Lollipop Specials”.

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