C. F. Usborne
Charles Frederick Usborne (1874-1919)
Born February 18th.1874 in London.
Married December 18th.1906 in Lahore, Pakistan to Janet Muriel, daughter of Clement Lefroy of Leamington Spa.
Charles died Nov. 6th.1919.
Janet died April 18th.1929.
Charles was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Rejected by the army, because he was not tall enough. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1898 and rose from Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner of Hissar. He had responsibilities as a peripatetic district judge and was much involved in recruiting for the first world war.
He was a keen sportsman (Tennis, Cricket, Shooting) a lover of poetry and an erudite scholar with a good working knowledge of the Punjabi dialect. He published “Punjabi Lyrics and Proverbs” in 1905. His translation of Waris Shah’s “Hir and Ranjha” (of 1766) has become a classic. (Peter Owen 1973)
Janet (niece of the Bishop of Lahore) was an imposing figure of six foot three inches (“Gawd, aint she ‘igh”), towering above her husband. Janet and Charlie performed songs together. They stopped when they realised the audience often came to gawp at the incongruous couple rather than listen to their singing. Janet maintained her faith throughout her life while Charlie was an agnostic.
He suffered severe bouts of depression. In 1919, the effects of over-work and the influenza pandemic caused a major breakdown in his health. He was invalided home but committed suicide shortly after his return.
Janet then lived with her five children (Tom, Dick, Harry, John and Margaret) in Battle, Sussex. They all grew up normal in stature, no doubt the intended by-product of the alliance.