James Andrew Forsythe; 1916-2004; soldier, sailor; Burwell, Cambridgeshire

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

James Andrew Forsythe; 1916-2004; soldier, sailor; Burwell, Cambridgeshire

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



James Andrew Forsythe was born at Leatherhead Surrey, on 8 July 1916, the son of William Forsythe of London and Ceylon, tea planter. James Forsythe attended Mowden Preparatory School at Brighton. His parents acquired a motor cruiser in 1924-5 called the Kelani, on which the family cruised on the Thames, and in the the early 1930s, the family began exploring the Broads by sailing yacht and motor cruiser. In 1933, William Forsythe died: the family moved to Norfolk, first to Hickling and then to Ludham. During the 1930s, James Forsythe worked as underkeeper on the Hickling estate, learned boatbuilding at Hunter's Yard, explored the Broads and, in 1935, acquired his first motor car. In 1936, he went to work in Ceylon, but returned home the following year and began training in the legal profession as an articled clerk in London, while continuing to visit Norfolk on weekend sailing trips. In 1939, he entered the Territorial Army as a gunner in the Honourable Artillery Company, and during the war served as a parachute gunner. Meanwhile, he had purchased the wherry Bramble, moored at Beccles, which served as the family home to James Forsythe, his first wife, Dorothy, and their two children, Jayne and Bill, until 1948, when James Forsythe bought a house at Brundall. In the same year he qualified as a solicitor and practised in Norwich and elsewhere in Norfolk until the late1950s, when illness led him to cease paid employment, although his active involvement in the TA continued until about 1962. In 1958, he married his second wife, Mary Edith: they moved to a house in Branksome Close, Norwich and their son Robert Neill Forsythe, was born in Norwich in 1959. In 1965, they commissioned a new house in Hoveton, completed by 1967 and named 'Scoutbush' after William Forsythe's family home in Carrickfergus. Caravanning, as well as sailing, was a feature of family life at this period. In 1975, James and Mary Forsythe moved to Burwell, Cambridgeshire. James Forsythe died on 18 March 2004.
James Forsythe's interest in sailing, the Broads and in maritime heritage continued throughout his life and was the focus of most of his extensive voluntary work. In 1949, the Wherry Trust was formed: James Forsythe was involved in this from the start as a founding trustee and also, during the next fifty-five years served as Treasurer, Secretary, Chairman, President and Vice-Patron, as well as trustee. He was also a trustee of the World Ship Trust, which he helped found in 1979, and served a number of offices with the Trust. He was made MBE in 1997.
Born Leatherhead, Surrey, 8 July 1916. First lived in Norfolk 1933. Died Cambridge 18 March 2004.


Leatherhead, Surrey; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire; Brighton and Hove, Sussex; Hickling, Norfolk; Ludham, Norfolk; Brundall, Norfolk; Norwich, Norfolk

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

soldier; sailor

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created on: 01/12/2008 by Drosm




Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC