The family moved to 47 Park Rd, Dartford, and later in 1911 to No 11, also in Park Rd, Dartford, Kent.

John known as "Jack" married Lillian Elizabeth Ford, at St Anselm’s Church, Spital St, Dartford, in 1938.

This is Jacks story.

Attending the Roman Catholic Salesinas College in South London, he developed along with academic achievements, a love of long distance running and woodwork.

Before he married, he had built and hand carved a bedroom suite, later making a set of dining chairs as well as other items of furniture.

In his youth he had been active with the Rover scouts, and believed to have founded the St Johns Ambulance Brigade in Dartford District.

Jack loved sport, particularly track and long distance, he also excelled as a 200 Yard sprinter.

Winning many medals and Trophies on the London Athletic Tracks, he was also interested in ballroom dancing, and enjoyed the roll of Master of Ceremonies at local dances in the district.

I was at one of these dances that Jack met Lillian, who had gone along with a friend, and wore a red rose attached to her dress. During the course of the evening, the rose fell to the floor, and Jack being the perfect gentleman, returned it to her.

Jack later kept that rose with letters from Lillian, written when they were forced apart.

Their friendship had blossomed, and they were married on the10th September 1938, Jack then 33 years of age, and Lillian a 25 year old spinster, living at ‘Shalmar’, Gainsborough Ave, Dartford.

Jack's father Thomas, although listed as deceased on their wedding certificate, was given as ‘Resident Engineer Infectious Diseases Hospital’.

Lillian's father, William Thomas Ford, gave his profession as ‘Major Royal Artillery’.

Jack and Lillian danced together, becoming Gold Medallists, and winning many prizes at National Competitions.

After completing his education, Jack worked in the Civil Service. Firstly as a clerk, to the Unemployment Assistance Board, later as an economist.

In 1939, and the onset of WW2, he was seconded into the British Foreign Office, although he had wished to join the military forces.

However, it soon became apparent that Jack was very well suited to the Diplomatic Service.

At the close of war, he attended the historic Potsdam Conference as administrator. The conference code name was ‘Operation Terminal’, and ran from 17th July to the 2nd August 1945. Dealing with post war division of Europe, jointly presided over by STALIN, CHURCHILL, & TRUMAN.

This was to be the start of the ‘Iron Curtain’, and the ‘Cold War’.

Ironically, it was Jack’s job to fly with the minutes of that meeting, delivered in a sealed box, to the English Parliament.

After this, Jack and Lillian moved a Diplomatic posting in France, and later Montevideo, Uruguay, where he became British Consul.

It was while living in this country they learnt Spanish, and Latin American Dancing. It was said the Jack and Lillian were often asked to dance at official functions.

Several years later, in Italy, it is said they danced down a wide staircase, ‘a la Hollywood style’, at a house once occupied by Mussolini, much to the pleasure of other guests.

They were at this time based in Rome, Jack, 1st Secretary to the British Ambassador, at the time of the 1960 Olympics.

Working in the Diplomatic Corps, often involved entertaining celebrities and foreign officials. At one time they entertained the British Wightman Cup, tennis team who apparently, ‘ate them out of house and home’.

While still in Rome, Jack was proud and privileged to be presented to the Pope. As a devout Catholic, this was a particularly moving event, and one that Jack recounted many times with joy.

The next official appointment was in 1961, across the Atlantic in Cleveland Ohio. They sailed on the "Queen Elizabeth", and during the voyage received a personal invitation to a cocktail party hosted by a certain Edward Heath MP.

Jack and Lillian became well known socially in Cleveland during their stay, and in 1962 were presented to President J.F.Kennedy. Jack was responsible for the welfare of ‘The Beatles’, when they toured the USA in 1964, and after their concert a party was arranged at a hotel, where local rumour had it that the party was to be held at the Bamford residence. The unsuspecting Bamfords arrived home to find police chasing away hordes of young fans.

In 1965 Jack and Lillian travelled back to London for his last few years in the Foreign Office. Jack was awarded the M.B.E. from the Queen, in recognition, for his service to his country, "For God and the Empire".

1967 found Jack and Lillian moving to Braunton, Nth Devon: never to retire, but to become involved with local politics. He soon became a Parish Councillor, later a District Councillor, and eventually a County Councillor.

He worked tirelessly in these capacities right up to a year before his death at 91 years of age.

Jack and Lillian had loved to travel, visiting Mexico, Canada, China and Australia, visited in October and November 1986, spending 3 months with their nephew Dr Brian Bamford and his family in Perth, Western Australia.

Jack enjoyed the hobby of growing grapes, and in 1996, his vines had produced 200 lbs of fruit. Many people locally speak highly of his homemade wine, and sloe gin tasting.

A dedicated attender of St Brannock’s Catholic Church, he also supported the North Devon Hospice, as well as being a member of Probus.

During the illness that led to his death he displayed the same level of dignity, as he displayed throughout his life.

He passed away on the 7th December 1996, aged almost 92 years of age, and was given a funeral fitting one who had risen to a high position in the Foreign Office. His coffin was decorated with the Union Jack Flag.

Micheal Chilton gave the eulogy, and recounted Jacks life….

" Most notably Jack will be remembered for his help he gave to others; whether it was those he looked after whilst serving in the British Foreign Office, his constituents whilst a local councillor in Braunton Nth Devon, his local Catholic Church, or friends and family."

"In the early nineties, the Braunton Athletic Track was completed, it was a project Jack had worked on tirelessly for many years. It is not difficult to imagine how delighted and proud he was when it was named after him, "J.K. Bamford Athletic and Track Pavilion".


‘No man ever made a success of his life by luck, chance or accident.

E. St. Elmo Lewis.