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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Lawrence R Bourne, again

© Stephen Bigger.
I asked in April for information about this writer active in the 1920s and 1930s. 
Thanks to his grand-daughter Kathy for much of the information below. His real name was Lawrence Harbourn, born 10.10.1879 (from his passport) and died in 1941. The family possess this obituary:
Mr L H A Harbourn passed away on Nov 16th [1941] after a brief illness   He was born in London where his father was Minister of the Regent's Park Congregational Church and a contemporary of Dr Parker of the City Temple who was a frequent visitor to their home. Mr Harbourn's grandfather had been a missionary and his father subsequently took up the same work.  As a youth Mr Harbourn was active in Christian work in London, preaching in mission Halls, speaking in the open air and assisting the Salvation Army in the slums.  He took a keen interest in the Boy Scout Movement in its early days and was the Leader of a Troup.
He came to Newport in 1915 and was introduced by Mr Holbrook to the Mission at Penylan.  He became the organist there and conducted the services on many occasions and by his zeal enthusiasm and his experiences was able to forward considerably the work of the Mission.  It was fitting therefore that the last service he conducted before his illness should have been at Penylan, and that his funeral should have been held there.
Through all the years he continued to serve with the Lay Preacher's Association, and his delight was to visit the country churches throughout the county.  They will miss his genial presence and his homely words.  Mr Harbourn was a gifted musician and artist and his work in the literary world was widely recognised.  He wrote under the pen-name of Lawrence R Bourn upward of a score of books - some of them text-books of the sea, upon which he was an authority - but most of them were boys sea stories and were deservedly very popular.  He was on the staff of a London Newspaper for a period of 43 years, and the tributes paid to him by his colleagues reveal the high esteem in which he was held.
To Mrs Harbourn and the four children we extend our loving sympathy in their great loss.

A Lawrence Harbourn attended Brigg Grammar School as a boarder from 1889: boarding school was a common experience for the children of missionaries.  See

He lived in Chesterfield Road, St Andrews,  Bristol  in February 1910, was discharged as unfit from the Army in 1917, and moved to Clevedon Road Newport in August 1918, where he lived until his death.

Published works (Oxford University Press unless stated)
Seamanship (Handicraft Books for Scouts, with numerous diagrams 
by the author and R.H. Penton, paper card covers, ca. 1923)
The Channel Pirate - A West Country Sea Story (1923)
The Treasure of the Hebrides (1924)
Coppernob Buckland (1925)
The Radium Casket (1926)
Coppernob - Second Mate (1927)
Well Tackled - A Story of a Shipyard (1928)
Captain Coppernob - The Story of a Sailing Voyage (1929)
The Adventures of John Carfax - A Story of the Press Gang (1930)
Copppernob - Ship Owner (1931)
Copperknob and the Cryptogram (rejected but manuscript exists, 1932)
Eastward Bound - A Story of Modern Smuggling (1933)
The Fourth Engineer (1934)
Stark Naked (published by Frederick Muller, London, 1934) reviewed 
favourably  by Dorothy Sayers in The Times 6.1.34 
The Chronicles of Jerry (1935)
Radium Island (1936)
Mixed Cargoes (short stories, 1938),
Saving His Ticket (1939)

 There is a French translation of Coppernob Buckland, Les aventures de Buckland "boule de cuivre"!  Also, The Voyage of the Lulworth: A Story of the Great Days of Sail, Oxford UP (info on back cover of Saving His Ticket). It also notes that Radium Island was sequel to The Radium Casket. There was a Lawrence R Bourne Omnibus (of Coppernob stories) in 1933, and a 1936 omnibus of The channel pirate, The treasure of the Hebrides and The adventures of John Carfax.

Short stories published in the Boys Own Annuals
Straight Sea Stories
Haunted in Mid-Atlantic
Adrift in the Atlantic
Paying a debt
The Race Home
On the Overdue List

Scouting Stories
Strange Affair at Porthlesky
Broken Glass
The Black Beacons
A Knife and a Piece of String

Brazendial Stories
Under the Cromlech
The Mammoths's Leg
Smuggled Goods

Captain Black Yarns
The Yarn of the Waggoner
In Tow
In Dock on an Iceberg
Black Cat for Luck
Story of the Pageant ?title

Old Bosun Yarns
The Yarn of the Bullfrog
Captain Ashore
A Motor Trip

Ship Aground

Manuscripts existing
Ghosts Ridiculous  (Professor Brazendial short story 1930)
Memory (Nagna Sansrcit short story 1933)
Copperknob and the Cryptogram
The Tie Alma Mater
Murder at the Altar (short story)

The Troubles (Chronicles) of Jerry (1935)
Captain Copperknob (1929)
Copperknob Buckland (draft)

I have just finished Well Tackled! - A Story of a Shipyard (blue boards, 1930, price 1/6d), illustrations (dust jacket and frontispiece) by Victor Cooley. It has a BOP feel of daring do. Benson Wilsthorpe, a young man about to go to university, finds himself owner of a small Birkenhead shipyard at Ellersley after his uncle's death. After settling in, he wins respect and has a chance meeting with an old friend Paget who has invented a new fuel (a mix of petroleum and TNT explosive!) and a new steel which is tough enough to withstand the power of internal combustion. Together this means ships can be built, even battleships, that can go at 100 knots. After refusing to be cheated, he and Benson amicably agree to develop the new boat. The Admiralty take the development under their wing. A mysterious organisation wants to steal the secrets and take them to Russia. Paget is kidnapped apparently to be taken to Russia, but rescued by the new speedy craft.  A cross-Atlantic new ship is taken over by pirates, and is given a new course for Russian waters... Anything else will be a spoiler, but rest assured all is well in the end. 
Note these blue boards are beautifully embossed (Oxford University Press).

© Stephen Bigger.

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