Photo of the Day

Vanity Fair caricature, 2 December 1876. Lieut-Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, unsuccessfully stood for Parliament as a Tory in 1880, crossed the Channel on a solo balloon flight two years later, and helped to found the Primrose League, a Conservative group in 1883. Disappointed not to be sent to Egypt in command of his regiment in 1884, Burnaby joined the forces independently and was wounded at the second battle of El Teb. This did not deter him from a similar course when a fresh expedition started up the Nile as part of the British Desert Column on a mission to go to the aid of General Gordon at Khartoum.

Colonel Frederick Burnaby

Traveller, man of letters, adventurer, soldier, almost politician, national hero and adopted Brummie!

“I have, unfortunately for my own interests, from my earlier childhood had what my old nurse used to call a most ‘contradictorious’ spirit”

– Fred Burnaby

If you think that celebrity is a modern notion. It’s not! Lieut-Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, to give him his full name and title was in every way the biggest celebrity of his day. A larger than life character who was known by many across the country. No mean feat considering the lack of modern communication methods.

Afghanistan is in turmoil. The Russians are waiting in the wings. British officers in local dress spy out the battle-scarred landscape, while violence threatens on the border.

Sounds familiar? But this isn’t 2017. It is 1839, and Captain Fred Burnaby is on ‘shooting leave’. Shooting leave was what British Army officers and diplomats abroad were awarded to give them a break from their mundane duties far from home. It was a chance to relax for a few weeks and fire double-barrelled volleys at every game bird and wild animal that came into their sights.

The more promising young officers were encouraged to travel and make contact with local chiefs, picking up whatever useful gossip might come their way.

So-called ‘shooting leaves’ were pretexts for perilous spying missions, sometimes in literally uncharted territory.

Lieut-Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, (3 March 1842 – 17 January 1885) was one of the greatest Victorian adventurers and travel writers and also a British Army intelligence officer. Burnaby’s adventurous spirit, pioneering achievements, and swashbuckling courage earned affection in the minds of Victorian imperial idealists. As well as travelling across Europe and Central Asia, he mastered the art of ballooning, spoke a number of foreign languages fluently, stood for parliament twice, published several books, and was admired and feted by the women of London High Society. His popularity was legendary, appearing in a number of stories and tales of empire.

When officers of the regiment shut two small ponies in his bedroom for a joke, Colonel Frederick Burnaby, a hero of the regiment, reportedly carried them from his room, one under each arm. A veritable giant of a man, standing at 6ft 4in tall and weighing 20 stone, Burnaby was exceptionally strong and frequently worked out in a London gym, much to the bemusement of his fellow officers. Burnaby, a giant of a man, whose party trick was to hold out at arm’s length two billiard cues by the pointed end between his fingers without wobbling: the equivalent, of tearing up a London telephone directory.

Rich enough to pay for his shooting leave, and with the boundless self-confidence of his type, he shrugged off warnings that his journey to Khiva, the recently annexed capital of what became Turkestan on the Russian border, would be highly dangerous. Undeterred, Burnaby packed 400 cartridges, strapped a belt of gold sovereigns round his waist, and began his long sledge journey in the coldest winter in local memory. He fell asleep for a few minutes; his hands slipped from his woollen coat and he suffered severe frostbite above his wrists. Luckily some Cossacks arrived before his hands fell off. They plunged his arms into a bowl of ice and rubbed them with spirits, just in time to restore circulation.

Burnaby pressed on, gave the Russians the slip, and provided Gladstone’s administration with valuable intelligence about Russian plans. (He was later speared to death on a mission to Khartoum.) Shooting leave was, after all, spying leave, and it played to the strengths of the British character: inventiveness, ingenuity, individuality, courage, role-playing and bravery to the point of recklessness. Above all, sheer high spirits – and it is this which we would like to believe is another age.

The mid and late-19th century was the apogee of the Great Game, in which Britain manoeuvred to keep Russia out of Northern India and what are now Pakistan and Northern Iran. Audacious young officers were sent out on these missions on the unspoken understanding that they were expendable; they were on their own. Nobody was safe. From porters to viziers, treachery abounded. These young men were fiercely patriotic, ready to die for Queen and country. They were also unquestioningly racist, since their lives depended on such distinctions. To maintain their disguises they needed to be word-perfect in several languages if they were to pass muster with local rulers such as Murad Beg, who hated Europeans and was liable to murder them.

The shooting leave of Lieutenant James Abbott, of the Bengal Artillery, ended up lasting two years, after brushes with death which included a murderous attack by Kazakh bandits in the Russian snows. He lost two fingers, but managed to conceal the ring on his other hand so it wouldn’t be cut off, too. Semi-conscious and beaten to a jelly, he prayed for strength to die ‘without disgracing my country or my name’. He was saved from death by a profit-conscious Kazakh.

No wonder there was a market for the books survivors wrote. Readers were as fascinated by the unknown cultures of central Asia as Asians were intrigued by their image of England.

The powerful Khan of Khiva, who like all these rulers wanted protection from the Russians, asked: ‘Is it true that an Englishman can tell, by looking at a hill, whether it contains gold?’ For some, like the dashing Valentine Baker, a friend of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), shooting leave meant just that. He left from Charing Cross in 1873 with more than a ton of luggage: most of it cartridges to shoot bears, red deer and tigers in Turkey; wolves and wild boar in the Caucasus; partridges, woodcock and bustards in Persia, and wild sheep and ibex in Central Asia.

He also took Worcestershire Sauce, surveying instruments and salmon rods. The trip was plagued by the usual treachery, defections, bribes, squabbles and fevers, but Baker’s friendship with Crown Prince Michael of Russia opened many doors and was a diplomatic triumph.

Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby. Portrait of Burnaby in his uniform as a captain in the Royal Horse Guards by James Tissot (1870). In 1882, he crossed the English Channel alone in the
Eclipse hot air balloon, ascending at Dover and after a perilous voyage descending at Envermeau, France, becoming the first balloonist to cross the channel.

The son of a clergyman, Captain Fred Burnaby, or Fred, as he was known, was a tall man with a big physique. He was known as the strongest man in the British Army with another party trick that included jumping from a standing start over a snooker table and also picking up under his arms two donkeys. Not that Fred was merely a great big hunk of muscle and party games. The man was noted for his jovial spirit, and his quick brain, with seven languages under his belt, and an insatiable appetite for travelling the world. It was the latter which sparked a series of best-selling books, all about his adventures abroad.

He was an insatiable traveller (his books ‘On Horseback Through Asia Minor’ and ‘A Ride To Khiva’ are still available today and well worth a read) and also the first man to cross the English Channel in a Hot Air Balloon. He was intelligent; he spoke several languages. He found life in the officer’s mess somewhat boring and he managed to combine his love of travel with a bit of spying on the side. Fred was in every way a national name and a national hero. He had a brief and unsuccessful flirtation with politics and stood for parliament in Birmingham Politics was not the sanitised stage-managed thing that it is now in those days. Several times on the platform when he spoke he had to contend with mobs. He didn’t need minders. He was more than able to handle himself!
In the Victorian age of larger-than-life heroes, the wildly eccentric colonel towered above the lot of them – and had balls to match his enormous frame.

Born on March 3rd, 1842, in Bedford, England to a clergyman father and a landed gentry mum, Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby soon proved himself a tad out of the ordinary. By his teenage years, young Fred stood at 6ft 4ins, weighed 15 stone and boasted a 47-inch chest.

He was educated at Harrow and Oswestry School and in Germany. He entered the Royal Horse Guards in 1859 as a cornet, in which regiment a lieutenant in 1861, a captain in 1866, a major and lieutenant-colonel (in the Army) in 1880 and a lieutenant-colonel (in his Regiment) in 1881. At the time of his death he was in command of the Regiment.

Fred joined the army in 1859 – aged 17 – and quickly became recognised as the strongest man in its ranks. A first-rate boxer, swordsman, rider and runner, his party tricks included vaulting over billiard tables and twisting pokers into knots with his bare hands. He once carried two ponies downstairs at Windsor Castle for a prank, picking one up under each arm like they were cats.
You didn’t want to mess with Fred Burnaby, that was true. But he was more than just a meat-head of mountainous proportions. Far more.
Fred was bright, friendly and jovial, always smiling by every account. He could speak seven languages, including Russian and Turkish. He was an insatiable traveller who wrote rip-roaring bestsellers about his adventures. And he was into hot-air ballooning – not exactly a normal hobby for a Victorian cavalry officer.
In 1882, he packed some roast-beef sandwiches, climbed into his wicker basket at Dover gas works and flew off alone in the direction of the Channel. He landed in a field in Normandy later that day, terrifying some local chickens, and becoming the first person to make a hot-air balloon trip from England to France.
Fred was also into politics.

He was, by his own admission, a stubborn kind of fellow.

“I have, unfortunately for my own interests, from my earlier childhood had what my old nurse used to call a most ‘contradictorious spirit’,” is how the man himself put it. Without that spirit though, Fred Burnaby might not have had such an incredible life.

One description of him says: “Burnaby was physically tall, strong and barrel-chested, and his prowess became legendary. “He was an eager traveller during his months of leave and an intrepid pioneer balloonist.

Among the artefacts related to Burnaby kept in the Household Cavalry Museum, they have a winter dress frock coat of Burnaby’s that demonstrates his proportions, as well as the boots Burnaby wore when he met his end at Abu Klea, also Burnaby’s book ‘Ride to Khiva’, detailing his unofficial spying mission to the Russian-controlled city of Khiva, Uzbekistan, in spite of a ban on all foreigners entering (a story that won him much acclaim in Victorian high society) and a dagger used at the Battle of Abu Klea, where Burnaby was killed fighting Mahdist forces, having re-joined his old regiment voluntarily, the War Office having denied him an official posting.

“Temperamentally he was impetuous, pugnacious, independent and adventurous, and frequently found himself censured by his superiors. But, if he was unpopular at the Horse Guards he was daily becoming more popular with the people, by whom he was regarded as a ‘colourful celebrity’, part hero, part fool, and leader of jingoist sentiment.” It was in 1879 that Fred married Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed – herself a force to be reckoned with – who, aged 11, had inherited her father’s lands in Greystones. The Hawkins-Whitshed estate would eventually changed its name to The Burnaby.

An old-school Tory, he stood for Parliament in 1880 – pitching himself against Joseph Chamberlain in the latter’s Birmingham stronghold.Chamberlain was one of the bigwigs of the day; Fred never really had a hope. But courage is when you know you’re beaten before you start and you throw yourself into it anyway. Fred was nothing if not courageous – courageous to the point of lunacy most of the time. He lost of course. But by God he gave Chamberlain a run for his money and no one who followed the campaigning in Birmingham that year ever forget Fred Burnaby.
At one meeting in Wolverhampton, for instance, Fred had his stewards bring two persistent hecklers up to the front. He went to the edge of the stage, leaned over and picked them both up by their collars, one in each hand. He then lifted them high for all to see and carried them at arm’s length to the back of the platform where he plonked them in two chairs.

“Sit there, little man. And you, little man, sit there,” he told them in his booming cavalry voice. The crowd was impressed. The heckling stopped. No one was left in any doubt that Colonel Burnaby was not an easy man to intimidate.

By this stage in his short life, Fred was already something of a popular hero in Britain, famous for a bizarre 1,000-mile journey he’d made into Central Asia several years earlier, accompanied by a dwarf. The mad trip was seen as a kind of one-man victory over the mighty Russian empire, which had tried to block his progress.

Tempting though it must have been for Fred to spend that time carousing, leaping over pool tables and lugging ponies up and down the stairs, he had bigger ideas. Instead, he used those long holidays to travel the world and write about his adventures. A member of the Royal House Guards, this elite regiment nicknamed The Blues would give their officers no less than five months leave every year. And rather than use those five months seducing women, leaping billiard tables and making ponies feel lightheaded, Fred would travel the world. And here’s how he did it.

First he went to Moscow, in winter. Next he set off for war-torn Spain. Then it was Sudan, where on a roasting February day he found himself flicking through an old English newspaper in a Khartoum café, absently chatting to some mates about where they all fancied going next time their leave came around.
“At that moment my eye fell upon a paragraph in the paper,” Fred wrote later. “It was to the effect that the [Russian] government at St Petersburg had given an order that no foreigner was to be allowed to travel in Russian Asia, and that an Englishman who had recently attempted a journey in that direction had been turned back…”
As a stout-hearted patriot, Fred wasn’t at all keen on Russians at the best of times. For years the Tsarist empire had been expanding rapidly south, swallowing up vast areas of central Asia – today’s “Stan” lands: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan. India lies just below the “Stans”, and Britain was getting twitchy. Was the jewel in Queen Victoria’s crown next on Russia’s hit-list?
Now those pesky Russians were trying to ban Englishmen from travelling in the region, too. Englishmen! You can imagine what Burnaby of the Blues thought of that. You can see him working himself up into a Basil Fawlty-style fit. How dare they! What was that rotten Tsar up to? More importantly, who was going to stop him?
Before he’d finished his coffee, Fred’s mind was made up. He would ignore the ban, travel to the heart of central Asia (somehow), and find out for himself exactly what was going on there. He saw it as his personal duty to open Britain’s eyes to the menace of the Russian bear. And, you never know, he might get a bestseller out of it too.
Fred’s friends in the café told him he’d never make it, that he might as well try for the moon. But he returned home to England determined and began making plans for the greatest adventure of his life
By the time he left London’s Victoria Station on 30 November, 1875, he had a bold plan. He’d simply go straight to St Petersburg, travel south-east to frontier city of Orenburg, and from there strike out over the steppes and deserts of Russian-controlled Central Asia. His goal was the mysterious caravan city of Khiva, closed to all travellers since the Tsar’s army seized it two years earlier. It wasn’t going to be easy of course. Apart from the possibility of being arrested, Fred’s army leave inconveniently fell during winter – so it would be blizzards, snowdrifts and killer temperatures every step of the way. If the Russians didn’t get him, frostbite or exposure probably would. He wasn’t exactly guaranteed a warm welcome if he made it to Khiva either. The Khivans were a fierce and independent lot who had been fighting Russian invaders for centuries, slaughtering the men and enslaving the women in harems. Their leader, the Khan of Khiva, had a reputation for cruelty. He will “very likely order his executioner to gouge out your eyes”, a friendly Russian warned Fred. Not that that put him off of course.

Captain Fred Burnaby was also the first man to make a hot-air balloon trip from England to France, having set off from Dover gas works with some roast-beef sandwiches and a wide-eyed belief in just about anything being possible in this world. A belief cemented when he landed in a field in Normandy one day later.

Burnaby always had a thirst for adventure, and his curiosity was piqued when he heard rumours that travel to the city of Khiva, in what is modern day Uzbekistan, at the time under the control of Tsarist Russia like much of central Asia, was off-limits to foreign travellers. Burnaby took it upon himself to travel out there, at his own expense and great personal risk, recording the things he saw on his journey in meticulous detail. Upon his return to Britain in 1876 and the book’s publication, the tale of Burnaby’s journey became a best-seller; it was the sort of derring-do adventure that went over extremely well with the Victorians, and Burnaby, already a hugely beloved figure in London high society, became even more feted for his daring exploits in the wilderness of Central Asia.

Burnaby’s account of his wild journey – “A Ride to Khiva” – turned him into a celebrity. It sold out. Queen Victoria invited Fred to dinner on the strength of it. Even today it’s a smashing, swashbuckling read. Wrapped up like the Michelin man in a smelly sheepskin suit, his military moustache frozen stiff on his face, Fred writes with boyish enthusiasm of how he pressed on through the frozen wastelands of Central Asia in the face of the most savage winter in living memory.
He hires a “faithful little Tartar” servant, Nazar, who stands less than five foot tall and sticks with Fred through thick and thin. Later, the Little and Large pair are joined by a third man, a local guide who wears an enormous black sheepskin hat, a bright yellow “dressing gown”, exotic boots with upturned toes, and a scimitar tucked into his belt.
At one remote settlement, the unlikely trio find all the horses have either died or are starving to death. This one-horse town is rapidly becoming a no-horse town. So they hire three gigantic, shaggy camels instead, harnessing the unruly beasts to their tiny sleigh and pushing on through the snowdrifts in bizarre fashion.
On another occasion, the motley team run into six armed Khivans who insult the exotically attired guide, abusing him for working for “dogs and unbelievers” from abroad (ie Fred). The guide lashes out with his whip; a Khivan hits back with a camel-stick. Knives are drawn; Fred pulls out his pistol.
Then something odd happens. The guide “blew his nose with his fingers as a sign of contempt for his adversary, and squatted on his haunches on the ground,” reports the bemused Englishman. “His foe, not to be outdone, performed the same feat with his nasal organ, and sat down opposite him. Then they began a verbal battle, in which the reputations of their respective female relatives were much aspersed.”
On one typically freezing day Fred forgets to put on his gloves and then falls asleep on the sleigh. Forty below and he forgets to put on his gloves – quite a feat in itself when you think about it. It was a mistake that almost cost him his hands.
“In a few minutes I awoke; a feeling of intense pain had seized my extremities. It seemed as if they had been plunged in some corrosive acid which was gradually eating the flesh from the bones.” He was frostbitten. And it was only thanks to the efforts of some rough and ready Cossacks, who rubbed a spirit on his limbs and plunged them into icy water, that circulation was restored and his fingers saved.
Yet despite these hardships, Fred’s pluck, and bravery wins the day. He avoids the Russian soldiers and passport officials who would turn him back. And after two months of hard travelling he rocks up outside the ancient city walls of Khiva. First things first, he needs a shave. It simply won’t do for an English gentleman to be seen walking round town like a homeless. So he goes off to find a barber’s, attracting a crowd of three to four hundred fascinated onlookers in the process.
Staring through the window of the barber’s shop, the throng is further amazed when Fred asks for his beard to be removed – it’s heads, not chins, that are traditionally kept clean-shaven in these parts (men’s scalps, our man notes, are “as devoid of hair as a block of marble”). Everyone is then heartily amused when the nervous and bewildered barber accidentally takes a divot out of the Englishman’s face with his blunt razor.

Finding no chance for active service, his spirit of adventure sought outlets in balloon ascents and in travels through Spain and Russia. In the summer of 1874 he went to Spain as correspondent of The Times newspaper to report on an insurrection, but before the end of the war he was transferred to Africa to report on General Charles Gordon, by chance another occasional resident of Southampton’s Carlton Crescent, and his expedition to the Sudan.

With characteristic optimism, Fred had already sent a messenger ahead to request an audience with the mighty Khan of Khiva, old eye-gouger himself, enslaver of Russian woman, enemy of the Tsar. To his surprise, this is granted. So, after the spruce-up, Fred finds himself being led into the ruler’s palace under the gaze of 40 guards in long silk robes and a curious group of “good-looking boys of an effeminate appearance, with long hair streaming down their shoulders”.
A curtain is pulled back and Fred is face to face with a powerfully built guy in his late twenties, with irregular teeth and a coal-black beard and moustache: the Khan. The main man is seated on a handsome Persian carpet, propped up by cushions. He raises his hand to his forehead in greeting; Fred touches his cap.
Fred had gone to Khiva without the permission of his army superiors – there was no point even asking for it, refusal being a certainty. So when word reached Britain via telegraph of Burnaby’s daring one-man bid to upset the Russians, not to mention his jolly chat with the Khan of Khiva, he was immediately ordered home by his commander-in-chief, the Duke of Cambridge.
The intrepid cavalry man dutifully returned to his regiment and got cracking writing his book. But the following year, when leave came round once more, he was off again on another strictly unofficial do-or-die mission.
This time Fred rode 1,000 miles from Constantinople into eastern Turkey, a wild and unstable region where the Tsar and the Sultan shared a frontier. War between the two powers was imminent. Fred wanted to see for himself what the Russians were up to there and whether the Turks could hold their own if fighting started.
Again he travelled through a savage winter. Again Russian agents tried to stop him. Again he had a bestseller on his hands when he returned – “On Horseback Through Asia Minor” – not to mention an even greater reputation for extravagant heroics.
Fred’s hot-air balloon trip across the Channel came next and only served to raise his stock further. His superiors weren’t impressed of course – once again he’d left the country without permission. But Fred just couldn’t help himself. Despite his loyalty, he had an unruly streak that no amount of army discipline could contain.
“I have, unfortunately for my own interests, from my earlier childhood had what my old nurse used to call a most “contradictorious” spirit,” he wrote in “A Ride to Khiva”. It was this “contradictorious” streak – this fierce independence – that led him to an early grave in the vast, hot, emptiness of Sudan.
One of the most extraordinary men Sudan has ever seen was on the rise at the time. Muhammad Ahmad had gathered around him an army of desert tribesmen and called out for holy war. He was a nineteenth-century Osama bin Laden. He wanted to drive the Egyptians and British out of his country and convert the world to Islam. They called him the Mahdi, “the expected one”. And he wasn’t a man to argue with.
The Mahdi’s followers were a fanatical and ferocious lot. They had God on their side and a terrifyingly impressive record of massacring their enemies. In 1883, a 10,000-strong Egyptian force led by a British officer, William Hicks, was sent against them. It was completely destroyed; just a few hundred men returned alive. Hicks’s head was cut off and taken to the Mahdi.
The following year, Fred – yet again travelling without permission – was among more than 4,000 British troops who had another crack at the rebels at the second battle of El Teb. It was a brutal clash fought at close quarters. And the mighty figure of Fred Burnaby was in the thick of it, doing dire work with a characteristically unorthodox weapon: a double-barrelled shotgun.
Fred used the butt as well both barrels to fearsome effect – a tactic that got his liberal opponents in a lather (killing Arabs with a shotgun: not the done thing at all, old chap). But this time the British won. Fred was mentioned in despatches. He returned home a hero, to most.
The Mahdi army wasn’t finished though. Far from it. Now General Gordon found himself besieged at Khartoum – and, after much dithering, the British government sent a relief expedition under General Wolseley to save him (too late, as things turned out).

Memorial obelisk in churchyard of St Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham.

Fred, naturally, wanted a piece of the action and Wolseley was happy to have him on board. But bad-boy Burnaby had by now upset so many people at the top his request to go back to the Sudan was turned down.
Who needs permission when you’re Fred Burnaby though? So, true to form, he simply waited for his leave to come around again. Then off he sailed, arriving in Africa against orders and catching up with the British force as it advanced towards Khartoum.
Welcomed by Wolseley, Fred immediately pushed up to the front. When a vanguard of 1,500 British troops ran into about 12,000 Sudanese a few weeks later, he was with them. And it was here, at a dusty desert watering hole called Abu Klea, that his luck finally ran out.
The rebels charged, unexpectedly and ferociously. The British formed into their usual fighting square and fired off a volley. But it failed to check the onslaught and the Mahdists kept coming at them. The evening before Fred had told the Daily Telegraph’s war correspondent, a Mr Burleigh, he’d left his shotgun behind because of the fuss it’d created when he last used it in battle. Fuss or no fuss, it would have come in handy now.
The Sudanese smashed into the British, piercing their lines in a wild attack. A bloody free-for-all of hacking, slashing and shooting ensued. Burleigh reports seeing Fred riding out, sword in hand, to help a handful of comrades caught stranded outside the square by the sudden charge.
A Mahdi rebel lunged at him with an 8ft spear, but he saw it coming. “Burnaby fenced smartly… and there was a smile on his features as he drove off the man’s awkward points,” writes the Telegraph reporter.
As the struggle continued, a second spear man came up behind Fred and jabbed him in the shoulder. It wasn’t a serious wound but it made him glance back, just for a second. And in that brief moment, the first guy seized his chance and ran his javelin into Fred’s throat.
The force pushed the huge soldier out of his saddle and dumped him on the ground. Burleigh saw what happened next: “Half a dozen Arabs were now about him. With the blood gushing in streams from his gashed throat, the dauntless Guardsman leapt to his feet, sword in hand, and slashed at the ferocious group. They were the wild strokes of a proud, brave man dying hard and he was quickly overborne, and left helpless and dying.” Dying, but not yet dead. The Mahdi army’s attack ended as swiftly as it started and Fred was still clinging to life when another officer, Lord Binning, found him lying on the ground, his head in the lap of a young private. The lad was crying. “Oh sir,” he said to Binning, “here is the bravest man in England, dying and no one to help him.”
Fred tried to speak but couldn’t. By now, he had a bullet wound in the forehead as well as the hole in his throat. Part of his head had also been cut away. Despite all this, the story goes that Fred died with his familiar smile on his face.

Burnaby died a hero’s death at the age of 42. There was national mourning with a rumour that even Queen Victoria had fainted on hearing the news. The London Times had an obituary of some 5000 words. In such a short life, Burnaby had become a national hero.

The Times of the 8th May 1885 noted that Colonel Burnaby left a personal estate amounting to £17,000 to his widow, Elizabeth Alice Frances Hawkins Burnaby. A marble memorial was erected by HRH the Prince of Wales, Colonel Milne Home and the officers of the Royal Horse Guards in Holy Trinity Church, Windsor (reported in the Times 18th December 1885).

Captain Fred Burnaby’s memorial is often a meeting place of many different groups, some who sadly treat it with disrespect, leaving their graffiti on it what the great man would do? I like to think he’d simply pick them up like donkeys and drop them somewhere else!

“A ride to Khiva and on horseback through Asia minor”

The Daily Echo looks back at the life of Lieut-Colonel Frederick …

Col. Burnaby – British Medals

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby – Wikipedia

Frederick Burnaby – Classic Travel Books

A Ride to Khiva by Frederick Burnaby – Goodreads

Great British Nutters: Frederick Burnaby: the Bravest Man in England

Colonel Fred Burnaby – a Legendary Victorian Hero | Lord Lexden OBE

Frederick Burnaby – Portrait Extended – National Portrait …

Is Fred Burnaby Greystones’ Hardest Man Ever? | Greystones Guide

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 1842-1885 – A History Blog by Bruce …

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1842 – 1885) – Genealogy – Geni

Burnaby, Colonel Frederick Gustavus – Sotonopedia

Colonel Frederick Burnaby – Household Cavalry Museum

The Burnaby Memorial by Canon Nigel Hand | Birmingham Cathedral

Fred Burnaby: The Victorian Adventurer | The History Vault

They don’t make spies like ferocious Fred any more: SHOOTING …


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