Vice-Admiral E.J. Bedford [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1887, Vol XIX, p.40.


Rev. W. Harpley, (Ed.).

Prepared by Michael Steer

Vice-Admiral Bedford was as well as being an ardent coastal  surveyor and geologist, was a conchologist of note; a student of mollusc shells. Conchology is one aspect of ‘malacology’, the study of molluscs; however, malacology is the study of molluscs as whole organisms, whereas conchology is confined to the study of their shells. It includes the study of land and freshwater mollusc shells as well as seashells and extends to the study of a gastropod's operculum. Conchology is now sometimes seen as an archaic study, because relying on only one aspect of an organism's morphology can be misleading. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Vice-Admiral E. J. Bedford was a Cornishman, having been born at St. Neot, near Liskeard, in 1810. In the early part of his career he served on the Pacific and Newfoundland station. In 1832 he joined the Home Survey, and from that time was employed continuously on the Surveys of the West Coast of England and Scotland, until his retirement from active service in 1869. More recently - about ten years ago - he was employed in the hydrographical department by the Admiralty.

Apart from his strictly professional work, Vice-Admiral Bedford was known as an ardent geologist and conchologist, and to the last maintained correspondence on these subjects with many scientific men of the day. He was elected a member of the Torquay Natural History Society on 10th November, 1875, having become a member of this Association a few months previously. He died July 1st, 1887, at Fairlawn, Paignton, where he had resided during the last seventeen years of his life, and where he was highly esteemed by all who knew him.