Frederick Gustavus BURNABY (1842-1885)
Portrait of Frederick BurnabyBritish soldier, traveller and adventurer. Frederick Burnaby was born in Bedford on the 3rd March 1842. He was educated at Bedford Grammar School and Harrow. In 1859 he joined the Royal Horse Guards and was made Colonel in 1881.
During 1875 he travelled with General Gordon in the Sudan and that winter he journeyed across the Russian Steppes on horseback. This extremely hazardous and dangerous venture resulted in the book ‘Ride to Khiva’ (1876). Throughout 1876-78 he travelled through Asia Minor and Armenia, later writing about his journey in ‘Horseback through Asia Minor’.
In 1882 he crossed the Channel to Normandy in a balloon, making him the first balloonist to cross the Channel alone.
He was killed by a spear wound at the battle of Abu Klea in the Sudan on 17th January 1885. The National Portrait Gallery has a very elegant portrait of Burnaby painted by James Tissot in 1870.
If you would like to know more about Frederick G. Burnaby, try:
The true blue: the life and adventures of Col Fred Burnaby, by M. Alexander (Hart-Davis, 1957)
A ride to Khiva, by F. Burnaby (OUP, 1997. First published 1876)
On horseback through Asia Minor, by F. Burnaby (Alan Sutton, 1985. First published 1898)
The life of Col Fred Burnaby, by T. Wright (Everett, 1908)