The Bomfords of Worcestershire

Dr William Bruce Norris Bomford


Bruce Bomford was born on 7 February 1919 at the Orchards and baptised in St Matthew’s Church.  He was educated at Woodnorton Preparatory School and Malvern College, where he was head boy and part of a long association between Malvern and the Bomfords.

Bruce was proficient in football and cricket.  His chosen sport was association football.  He played to a very high standard, earning school and university caps and playing for the Old Malvernians in the Arthur Dunn Cup matches.  He enjoyed tennis well into his 80s.

He never went into the diplomatic corps as his mother wished but went to London to train as a doctor at the London Hospital.  He was evacuated to St Catherine's College Cambridge for a year of his medical studies because of the bombing.  He combined a London training with the experience of being taught by some extraordinary characters in Cambridge.  He qualified in 1943 and became a general surgeon, spending much of his time at hospital around London eventually becoming Surgical First Assistant at the London Hospital.

Soon after qualifying he was drafted into the Royal Army Medical Corp, landing in Normandy soon after the D-Day landings and working in a field hospital outside Bayeux.  As the fighting moved on he was recalled and shipped to Bombay.  He was on a jungle warfare course when Victory in Europe  was proclaimed.  He spent time in Sumatra, Java and Borneo before returning to Singapore and then home in 1947.  His journey from Southampton where he landed and his arrival at Evesham station were among his enduring memories.

Bruce held several hospital positions and then when he was 40 he made a decision that surprised many of his colleagues in the profession and certainly his family: he decided to take a job working as Surgeon-in-Charge in the 120 bed British Petroleum Hospital in their refinery in Little Aden.  This was quite a challenge but he made a great success of it for 12 years (1960 - 1972), operating as a single-handed surgeon and running the hospital.  His operating lists during this period sound like a 'whose who' of surgery – shrapnel in the eye, mitral valvotomies/heart surgery, evacuating intracranial bleeds, gastrectomies and cholecystectomies.  At the end of his spell in Aden he was promoted to Chief Medical Officer for BP, working in head office in Moorgate London and living in the Barbican.

Bruce retired in 1979 aged 60 and lived in Salford Priors at the Stables.  At that time his sons had young families which their grandparents helped to care for.  It was also the period in which he wrote his own very personal history of the family and spent much time researching and meeting the extended family.

He spent 10 years happy and fulfilling years in Carlisle with his second wife, Sheila, pursuing many interests, some old such as maintaining his vintage car, and some introduced by Sheila, including an appreciation of orchestral music.  Bruce Bomford died in Carlisle on 26 December 2004.

See also his entry in