Francis John- always known as Frank- Bedford 1909 -1969

Gunnell Ancestry tree- cannot see how the home person is related to the Bedfords!

Born Wrockwardine Wood- this near Telford

"A tall white missionary with his infectious laugh and bright twinkling eyes" - 1966 magazine article

1909 Francis John Bedford was born Wrockwardine Wood on 11/11/1909 to John Henry Bedford & Lucy Callear - Wellington Dec 1909. His father a Primitive Methodist Minister


Francis held by his grandfather, Moses, & his father, John Henry Bedford

1911C. Francis John Bedford was living Primitive Methodist Manse, WrockwardineWwoods, Oakengates, Shropshire . His parents married 2 & 3/4 years, 1 child. Living in 8 rooms

John Henry Bedford Head Married Male 31 1880 Primitive Methodist Minister Staffs Stafford
Lucy Augusta Bedford Wife Married Female 30 1881 - Shropshire Dawley
Francis John Bedford Son - Male 1 1910 - Shropshire Wrockwardine Wood


1917. From l to r. Mary-Eliz, Fred. King, Moses, Francis, Elizabeth, John Henry, Lucy & Reginald


Maybe Lucy, Francis, Reginald & John Henry ? - if so, ?1925?? & reposition!


1916. His only sibling, Reginald, was born


~1916. Francis with baby brother, Reginald



Mary Elizabeth 1877?. Frank, Reginald, John Henry, Lucy ~ photo taken 1923??


Moses, ?, Elizabeth, Lucy, Francis, John Henry ~ 1911

Educated at the Southern Secondary School and the Municipal College Portsmouth , then Hartley College, Manchester - from FMP 1932 newspaper article, on his father's page. but corrected by Cilla


Francis on graduating, with father John Henry ~ 1931

1932. The following picture appeared of him, his brother & parents in the Portsmouth Evening News in May 1932


Francis with his parents and younger brother in 1932

1932. Left Portsmouth in August to do educational work in Northern Rhodesia - from FMP 1932 newspaper article on his father's page . His 1st post was as Vice Principal of the Methodist Teacher Training College at Kafue. He left for Africa on August 17, 1933 on the Kenilworth Castle ,aged 23 .He established the 1st African Scout Group for N. Rhodesia. Later was in charge of Scoutmaster training throughout Rhodesia . The British & Foreign Bible Society gave him a copy of the New Testament in Chiila: from this he taught himself to speak this local language. He went on missionary tours from Kafue, deep into remote parts. . He had taken a course in the rudiments of medicine, & would often stay in disease ridden villages, tending the sick and dying. . Midwifery, paediatrics & dentistry became day to day duties. Always took salt with him, & exchanged this for maize meal to feed him and his carriers. He was also a mediator during the Mufulira mining strikes.

Just after first photo the years of death should be put in for Daddy, Grandad and Granny. Do not know which photo this referring to

Where it mentions "priest" it should read "clergyman" - throughout his history- can only find the one mention 1938

1935. Was appointed Principal at Kafue TTC.

1936. Ordinated?? this on the Potted History

1937. Francis John Bedford married Olive Rowe on Jan 2nd 1937 at Methodist church in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. Short honeymoon at Victoria Falls Hotel. Olive was working as a nurse with the Colonial Service.. There does not appear to be a m.c. Kafue was Frank's & Olive's first home.

1937. Francis J Bedford . 27, minister, & Olive Bedford, 30, arrived in London on 5/7/1937 from Cape Town, South Africa on the City of Paris. . Proposed UK address 17 Buchanan Ave Bournemouth, last country of residence S. Rhodesia

They had 3 children: Frances Mary Bedford 6/10/1937 in Bournemouth; Priscilla Jane Bedford born 1939 in N. Rhodesia; Margaret Ruth Bedford born 1944 in N. Rhodesia. d. 1999

1937. A Rhodesian Minister in Cornwall The Cornishman 2/11/1937 FMP Newspapers . His mother in law, Clara Curtis, was down in Cornwall with Frank & Olive during this year- but seemingly in summer months- see photo on Olive's page


1938. F J Bedford, 28, priest,, Mrs Bedford, 30, and F M Bedford 1, leave London on 2/4/1938 on the City of Paris, bound for Lorenzo Marques & Beira , their destination S. Rhodesia, last UK address 17 Buchanan Avenue, Bournemouth . He was actually a Missionary, but ship's manifest states Priest . Also, contrary to what the shipping record seemed to claim"Not bound for Lorenzo Marques but Capetown and then by train to Northern Rhodesia

1938. He was elected as Methodist Representative of the United Missions in the Copper belt and was appointed to Mufulira Copper Mine, where he built 2 churches. He also opened 3 schools, each for 10000 children. Subsequently appointed Educational Secretary for the whole of the Copper Belt, & became leader of the United Missions Team . He met Kenneth Kaunda in Mufulira at a training camp for cubmasters ; Kenneth became a choir leader at one of Frank's churches & later a teacher at one of his schools.

They lived first in Kafue

1939 Chipembi?? this on the Potted History

1939. Priscilla Jane Bedford was born July13th 1939 in Mufulira N. Rhodesia

1944 Margaret Ruth Bedford was born August 8th 1944 - died March 28th 1999 . Both children born in Mufulira, Northern Rhodesia ( now Zambia)

Mufulira~70 k NW of Ndola

1946 Family left Mufulira and traveled by rail to Capetown to find a ship to sail back to England ( lots of people trying to get back to England after the war). The family needed to seek better medical treatment for Margaret, who had developed diabetes at the age of 18 months . Sailed on SS Umtali about 4000 tons. Arrived Tilbury docks 1947 - cranes  frozen. Went to stay with John and Lucy Bedford - his parents- for 6 months at Wraysbury, Elphinstone Rd ,Highcliffe on Sea, Hampshire.

1947. The reverend F Bedford, 37, Olive Bedford 39, Miss F Bedford 9, Miss P Bedford 7, & Miss M Bedford 2 arrived in London from Beira on 21/1/1947. Proposed address in UK was Wraysbury, Elphine Road, Highcliffe on Sea, Hants. Country of residence was N. Rhodesia - Ancestry

1947. Frank worked among young people and travelled all over Britain organising youth Conferences- this Education work at Mission House.

1947. Francis J Bedford (North Rhodesia) gave a talk on work in the Copper Belt at the Methodist Bournemouth Synod on 9/5/1947 - FMP Newspapers

1947/8 . Moved to 3 Watling St, Dartford as Francis had job at Mission House in London as Education Secretary. First trip by plane to Ireland on 7/11/1947

1948. Although Margaret was still ill, he finally agreed to take on the task of establishing the East African Agency of the British & Foreign Bible Society:
1949 Appointed East African Secretary of British and Foreign Bible Society and sailed from London for Mombasa to set up work and find a house for the family on BI ss Matiana

13/12/1948 . He received the Scouting Woodbadge & 15 year Service ribbon

1949. Francis Bedford , 39, clergyman, left London on the Matiana on 29/1/1949 for Mombasa. His last UK address was 3 Watling Street, Dartford -FMP. He had agreed a term of 10 months with the B&FBS- this eventually stretched to 12 years!

1949. He moved into a new house overlooking Athi Plains. Could see Mt. Kilimanjaro 160 miles away

1949. Francis J Bedford, 40, clergyman, arrived in Plymouth from Mombasa aboard the S S Madura on 30/11/1949 . Intended address 3 Watling Street, Dartford, Kent, country of last permanent residence England. This was to collect his family

!950 Left with family on another British Indian line ship ss Madura for Mombasa. Ship diverted to Malta to put Priscilla ashore with Appendicitis. Olive and Margaret stayed with her in Malta a month and Francis and Frances sailed on. Priscilla was in the Naval hospital in Valletta

1949-1960. He travelled thousands (23,000) of miles, forming societies, addressing hundreds of meetings, visiting schools, churches & mission stations wherever he went. Starting by hitching lifts form local farmers, he than acquired a van and within years the East African Agency boasted a 3 story headquarters in Nairobi, from which the work of 27 translation committees was administered.

1950-January 1954. The family lived in Nairobi.

When the Mau Mau Uprising( 1952-1960) broke out, his wife was put in charge of Red Cross Relief. On one occasion they took relief to the survivors of a village where 250 had been slaughtered the previous night. He also visited Mau Mau detention camps, handing out bibles.

1962. Arrival of the Union Swahili Bible : he had the reward of seeing this introduced into E Africa which has since proved to be one of the great evamgelizing forces of the area.

1958? He received the M B E for his role in scouting, particularly for keeping the movement going during the Mau Mau rebellion. . And was also awarded in 1957 the Silver Wolf, the highest decoration in scouting .

Accounts and photos of time in Kenya . Schooling for children?

1954. Francis J Bedford, 44, minister, Olive Bedford 46, Frances Bedford 15, Margaret Bedford 9 & Priscilla Bedford 14, arrive in Southampton aboard the S S Kenya Castle on 21/2/1954, proposed address in UK of Winton, Bournemouth, permanent country of residence Kenya - Ancestry

25/4/1954. National Scout Service at Windsor Castle- he was presented to the Queen Mother

15/8/1954. Highcliffe - 50th anniversary- of what?? of his father, John Henry Bedford

8/9/1954. Lunch with Lady Baden-Powell at Hampton Court Palace.

18/11/1954. Sailed on S S Kenya Castle for Mombasa via Suez.

Then back to Kenya.

1955. Frances left home to do nursing training- 30/4/1955

1956. Trip to the Seychelles -June. Presented to Princess Margaret -Oct. .Margaret 1st in country in High School entrance exam -November. As RAF Chaplain- weekly visits to Eastleigh .

1957. Priscilla left for Exeter University

1959. Francis John Bedford 11/11/1909, Olive Bedford 28?3/1907 and Margaret Ruth Bedford 8/8/1944 leaves London for Mombasa on 31/12/1959. Last UK address was Wyenholme, Barton Lane, Barton, intended country of residence Kenya

1960. Frank Bedford returned to London to take up a post at the Bible Society headquarters. He was also appointed Secretary for Africa, and carried out 7 tours, from the Med to the Limpopo river.

1964. He was invited to the festivities for Zambian Independence: he had been friends with Kenneth Kaunda for 20 years, having taught him as a scout.

1964.British & Foreign Bible Society(Africa Section). He ( MBE BA) made a November visit to Station Street West W R Church, Coventry, gave 3 addresses- FMP Newspapers

1966. The magazine,The Bible in the World, published a 3 page spread titled 'Missions, Medicine, Mines and Mau Mau colour the Frank Bedford story' - Cilla has this, but I have precised it with the relevant facts appearing above in their respective years.

1969. Francis John Bedford, 60, died on 1/12/1969 at 44 Whitmore Road, Beckenham Bromley Dec 1969, the 39th year of his ministry. Probate of £2700

Bedford Index