Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 12, 2016.
Webpage updated: March 21, 2016

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John Francis Burns was for 36 years the Borough Engineer and Surveyor for Devonport and the Chief Officer of the Devonport Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Born in Plymouth towards the end of 1853, he was the son of Mr John and Mrs Hannah Burns.  His father was a labourer and at the time of the census in 1861 the family were living at 21 Richmond Walk in Devonport.

Young John progressed well in his early life and by the time of the census in 1881, when he was 28 years of age, he was a foreman of builders and living in lodgings run by Mr William G Allen and his wife at number 55 Duke Street, Devonport.

Soon after the census was taken Mr John Francis Burns married Miss Jessie Toogood.

By 1891 Mr Burns had been appointed as Borough Engineer and Surveyor for Devonport and his wife had given birth to two sons, Francis John Burns and Clarence Henry L Burns.  At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at number 2 Valletort Road, along with a 22-years-old domestic servant by the name of Miss Alice Nation.

His youngest son, Mr Clarence Henry L Burns, died in 1925 at the young age of 39 years.

Following the death of his first wife early in 1928 at the age of 71, Mr Burns married again at the end of 1928.

He was a member of the Devonport Mercantile Association and the Royal Sanitary Institute and a prominent Freemason.

Mr John Francis Burns died at his home, 6 Argaum Villas, Stoke, on Thursday August 24th 1944 at the age of 91 years.  The funeral service was held on Monday August 28th 1944 at the Ancient Parish Church of Stoke Damerel and he was afterwards cremated at Efford Cemetery.

He was survived by his widow, Mrs Kate Burns and by his eldest son.  Mrs Burns died in 1951.