The Usborne Family
Descendants of Thomas Usborne of Goudhurst 
in Kent, England who died in 1548
This page changes every month.                      Look out for USBORNES IN ART in March.

Usbornes.........All at Sea.  February 2004

Patrick Obrian's sea drama from the Napoleonic era was recently made into the film Master & Commander. Was the story lifted straight from the Usborne archives? All the elements are there:

Alexander (b.1805)  Read his astonishing account of the storm at sea, how the mast snapped and four men in the rigging were thrown into the sea, how he was accidentally shot through the gut by a musket ball. Read what Charles Darwin said about Alex and see him in a contemporary painting in Beagle's Gunroom.

Alexander (b.1774) The Chase. HMS Hannibal pursues and overwhelms the French warship Sultane. Read about the desperate engagement of 2 hours in which the enemy had 40 men killed.

George (b.1796)
haunted by the ghost of a dripping seaman

Cecil (b.1880) saved thousands of lives in the Atlantic in both world wars with his invention of a mine clearing device called the Paravane (click for animation).
Read how our illustrious Admiral charmed every lady he met.

Commander Neville (b.1883) was "the gentle lover, the wise father, the brilliant man of invention and (in 1911) the most experienced airship pilot in the world" (according to Lord Kilbracken).  Read how he fell out of the sky and died in 1916 watched by members of the British Cabinet.

The oddest thing you must agree,
about the Usborne family
is how it's kept its curious name,
since mediaeval times the same,
and yet has not produced a clan
(presumably) much bigger than
the one you're looking at tonight.
A maddening sight? You might be right.
The book of London telephones,
which carries regiments of Jones
and Robinsons and Smith and Bowen
and Sullivan and Price and Cohen,
has USBORNE'S just a paltry six,--
and most of those "live in the sticks".
Where are the Park Lane Usbornes, where
The Usbornes of Cadogan Square?
Why aren't there Usborne, brood on brood,
in Wimbledon and Chorley Wood.
Well, if the total Usborne count amount,
think of the consequences...........etc

Anon 1954     (after Hillaire Belloc?)
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