official and scholar, was born in West Derby, Lancashire on 2 August 1916, the son of Harold Staveley Boumphrey (marine engineer) and Susan Evelyn Boumphrey, née Housden. He was educated at Liverpool College and at Pembroke College, Oxford, and joined the Colonial Audit Service in 1939. After service in Nigeria until 1943, his next overseas appointment was to the Falkland Islands as Colonial Auditor from 1947 to 1951, during Sir Miles CLIFFORD's term as Governor. It was typical of Boumphrey that he should interest himself in the history of the Islands and also in Antarctic exploration, following a visit to South Georgia and, early in 1950, a tour of British bases as a member of the Governor's party in RRS John Biscoe. His next posting, at the opposite extreme of climate, was as senior auditor in the Federation of Malaya, whence he moved to Singapore, there finishing his colonial service as deputy director of audit in 1958-59. He now turned to a new career, first as bursar of Godolphin School, Salisbury, then as finance officer of Durham University, and finally, in 1964, as the first bursar of the newly formed Lancaster University, where he served until his retirement in 1982.
Boumphrey was a kindly man whose ordered mind, scholarly pursuits and wide travel made him a stimulating companion under any circumstances. Outside his family and professional work, his abiding interests were in genealogy and heraldry, and he was an authority in both fields, being the author of several books. His tour of duty in the Falkland Islands led to the publication of papers on the Islands' place names and on the early history of Port Louis; an annotated translation of Henrich KLUTSCHAK's paper on a visit to South Georgia in 1877-78; and an edited account of the discovery of Victoria Land in 1841. His (and others) unpublished Preliminary derivations of some Falkland Islands place-names remains a most useful source of information on that subject.
Boumphrey received the MBE and was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He died at his home in Winchester on 23 August 1987.
1.Robert Boumphrey married Naomi Emelita Housden (1917-1992). They had two sons - David Staveley Boumphrey (1944-1987), who was born in Southwark, England, and Robert Staveley Boumphrey, who was born in Stanley in 1947.
2.Boumphrey’s wife and children departed the Falklands 29 April 1950 so that their children could have some of the summer at home. Robert acted as Officer-in-Charge, Treasury from 9 October 1949 to 21 May 1950, inclusive, during the absence on leave of the incumbent and had to delay his departure as he had to wait for the officer’s return. He travelled home in the John Biscoe, departing 15 June 1950. His employment with the Falkland Islands Government terminated, after leave, on 12 January 1951.
3.Robert was transferred to the Federation of Malaya with effect from 13 January 1951.
4.Boumphrey’s Colonial Service dates:
Nigeria 1 November 1939 to 27 November 1943
Overseas Audit Department 28 November 1943 to 21 May 1947
Falkland Islands 22 May 1947 to 12 January 1951
Malaya 13 January 1951 to 10 February 1955
Singapore 11 February 1955 to 16 January 1959
Robert Boumphrey voluntarily retired from the Colonial Service with effect from 4 January 1959.
Robert Boumphrey & James Erik Hamilton; Preliminary derivations of some Falkland Islands place-names; 1950
Robert Boumphrey; Place names in the Falklands; Falkland Islands Journal; 1967
November 2019 Two external links added; one reference added
January 2020 One photograph added; one additional reference added
January 2023 One editorial comment added
March 2023 Main text amended and four editorial comments added