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The medal entitlement
of Horatio Bedford - The British Empire Medal for
Meritorious (Military) Service, 1939-1945 Star, Africa
Star with 8th Army clasp; Defence Medal, British War
Medal with oakleaf emblem for mention in dispatches.
Horatio Bedford was born
in the Shoreditch district of London on the 23rd March
1917. He was the son of David Bedford (1890-1968) and
his wife Edith (1892-1968), nee Biggs. Horatios
parents had at least 5 children.
It is believed the family moved to Leicestershire
in the early 1930s. On the 24th April 1933 sixteen
years old Horatio Bedford joined a Territorial Army
battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, and just over
two years later, on the 25th August 1935, he enlisted
into the Royal Artillery. In 1939 he married Alice E.
Quin in Leicestershire.
On the outbreak of war he served with
the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was part of the British
Expeditionary Force in France. He was evacuated from Dunkirk
during May-June 1940. On the 11th July 1940 the Supplement
to the London Gazette carried a notice recording that
King George VI had been graciously pleased to approve
the award of The Medal of the Military Division of the
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for Meritorious
Service to No. 4857010, Corporal (acting Lance-Sergeant),
Horatio Bedford, Royal Army Medical Corps (R.A.M.C.).
Later in the war Sergeant Horatio Bedford,
B.E.M., served with the R.A.M.C. in the Middle East, and
was at both Tobruk and El Alamein. During his service
there he was mentioned in despatches, for which he was
awarded an oakleaf emblem. His gallant and distinguished
service was notified in the Supplement to the London
Gazette on the 13th January 1944.
During his war service Horatio was in
an ambulance that drove over a mine. In the resulting
explosion he lost an ear, his injuries were difficult
to treat, which resulted in him being sent back to England.
He had a form of plastic surgery to effect the look of
an ear. He was eventually discharged from the army on
account of his injuries.
The Postwar life of
In 1956 Horatio married Ruby Victoria
Freda Relph, with whom he had had two children.
On the 25th August 1958 the Bedford family,
who had been living at 7, Thessaly Square, Battersea,
London, sailed from Liverpool on the 5,430 ton Motor Vessel
Shomron, which was operated by the Bahr Behrend
Company Limited. The ship voyaged southward and eventually
the family were disembarked at Takaradi, on the Gold Coast
At the time the family made the voyage
Horatio was working as a nurse tutor
for the Foreign Office. He worked as part of an overseas
development project in Korle Bu, at the Ghana Teaching
Hospital. He met Her Majesty the Queen on a visit to Ghana.
With the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah, Horatio
then moved to work in Nigeria where he started working
in his spare time with Lepers. He left Nigeria when the
Biafra crisis erupted in 1967.
Horatio Bedford then worked in Uganda
in charge of the Nurse Training programme throughout the
country. He left under duress when Idi Amin tried to recruit
him. He and his then wife, a Ugandan, declared they were
in danger and after a meeting with General Idi Amin they
drove to Kenya. They then took-up a job in Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia Horatio met Emperor Haile
Selassie, who he persuaded to open the country to Freemasonry,
an organisation with which Horatio had long had an involvement.
After working in Ethiopia Horatio moved to Zambia, where
he had hoped to live out his days. He worked at a University
as a lecturer on Occupational Health. However, he continued
working on behalf of Lepers, and was involved in raising
awareness about supplying old spectacles for those with
Under Kenneth Kaunda's presidency, Horatio
decided to leave Zambia. Horatio returned to England aged
67 with a£10 allowance that was permitted by the
Zambian government. In England he retrained as a chiropodist,
and continued to enjoy life. He was a committed freemason
and was appointed in London to the 13th degree of freemasonry.
In England he continued to raise funds
for African lepers and sought to supply glasses to those
with failing eyesight. He was invited to Kensington Palace
to receive an appointment to the Knights of St. George.
When he passed away the family received a letter of condolence
from Her Majesty the Queen, who Horatio had met many times
whilst he was working in different African countries.
His passing was also acknowledged by a letter of sympathy
from Kensington Palace.
At his funeral Gerald Howarth, a friend
and Member of Parliament for Aldershot, delivered a eulogy
which celebrated the rich and full life of a liked man
- Horatio Bedford.
Horatio's parents are
interred together in Thurmaston Cemetery.
With grateful thanks to Jacqui Watt, daughter of Horatio
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