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Mrs Nora Coombes

(Owner of UK Ch Taj. and Dhunjibhoy Rizer)
(by Lyall Payne September 2017)

Mrs Nora Combs - Mrs Reginald Arthur Bertram Coombes (nee White) and later Mrs Norman Burgoyne Perkins. We ‘know Nora’ from one pic of her and two very sound looking Afghan hounds and an obviously ‘fake backdrop’ taken sometime between 1929 and 1933. So, I thought I’d share a few thoughts and pictures of this lady we know as Nora Coombs (which should be spelt Coombes, incidentally)!

Nora Coombes with Dhunjibhoy Rizer and Ch Raj PHOTO Nora Coombes with Dhunjibhoy Rizer )

Nora Coombes first owned Sitrach Iran of Ghazni (born 26 March 1927, to Khan of Ghazni and Zarifa of Ghazni). Sitrach was born at ‘The Hermitage’ in Ringmore, Devon, home of Isabel Bradshaw. Isabel had moved there from Harrogate in Yorkshire the previous year. Isabel’s husband (Richard Giles Bradshaw) was a dentist in London’s exclusive Harley Street and the couple retired to the beachside settlement of Ringmore. However soon after the move Richard died (on 14 May 1926). Richard Bradshaw left 14,114 pounds sterling to his solicitor Edwin Cobbing. A picture exists to this day of Mrs Cobbing with Ch Sirdar.

Although Ghazni in name the litter born on 26 March was not raised by the Amps. Mary Amps had left the country a month earlier, having sailed from Liverpool, England on 26 February 1927 for an intended future in Afghanistan. Mary was a frequent traveller (having first gone out to Afghanistan as the widowed Mrs Amy Cecelia Johnson on the ‘SS Maloja’, leaving London on 2 November 1923. However, the political turmoil that resulted in the evacuation of Kabul in late 1928 and early 1929 saw the Amps’ back in England (until Mary’s husband’s business ventures took them to Hong Kong in the 1930s).

Back to Nora. She was born Nora White on 4 Sep 1890. On 3 June 1916 she married Reginald Arthur Bertram Coombes (son of James Coombes, a bootmaker and Edith Bilton) and the couple were married at St Wilfred’s, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. The couple had a daughter, Sylvia Nora Coombes on 11 March 1917. However young Sylvia died just 10 months later, on 21 Dec 1917. She was to be Nora’s only child.

For Crufts 1928, Nora Coombes donated a trophy for the best black and tan Afghan hound. She did not enter that year however. The judge was Mr Laraine who was to give Ch Sirdar of Ghazni his first Crufts Best of Breed win. Although Nora’s Sitrach was born almost a year earlier, her next dog, Shah ez Sheereef of Wahsdarb (Danenda of Ghazni ex Elsa of Ghazni) was still 10 days away from being born!

Shah ez Sheereef of Wahsdarb
(Danenda of Ghazni ex Elsa of Ghazni) j PHOTO Nora Coombes Shah ez Sheereef of Wahsdarb)

At Crufts in 1932 Nora Coombes showed Raj. The judge was Brigadier General Lance who we associate with the Saluki. She exhibited again in 1933. This time the judge was Clara Bowring. Clara was known to be a ‘Bell-Murray sympathiser’ – just as Mr Laraine (1928 and 1930) was known for his Ghazni sympathies. Ch Sirdar was Best of Breed under him both times he judged the breed at Crufts (1928 and 1930).

Incidentally, when Clara Bowring judged, Alice Simmons showed her Safiya and Amanullah – who were soon to go to Molly Sharpe (and I’d doubt anyone wouldn’t find Safiya in their pedigree today!)

After 1933, when Nora and her husband went their separate ways, I cannot find that Nora had any further involvement in the breed. Nevertheless, continuing her story… Nora and Reg divorced and on 17 October 1940, Nora married a widower, Norman Burgoyne Perkins. Norman (until two years prior) had owned Arthingworth Hall in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. He bred polo ponies and had a polo ground there allowing locals free entry to watch polo games. His popular wife (Edith Marianne) was an avid animal lover and her death was reportedly deeply felt in the local community. Norman was born in Sydney, Australia and when his father (Henry Australia Perkins) died his New South Wales (Australia) estate which was valued at 59,085 pounds was left to his widow and second born son Norman Burgoyne Perkins. The Perkin’s family had a shop in George St, Sydney that sold carpets, rugs and baby linen and flourished there from the 1850s through to the 1880s. The family owned Pembroke Villa, a sandstone cottage in Johnstone St, Balmain and lived there until 1864 when they moved to Mineeva, on Ballast Pt, on the western side of Sydney harbour.(I still can't believe someone would give their child the name 'Australia'...but then Marion Foster Florsheim's husband (Harry A Florsheim) had the second name 'Amson' .. short for "American son' - so maybe I should not be surprised!!

By 1951, Norman and Nora (now 72 and 60 years old, respectively) were living in Flat 30, 140 Park Lane, London and set out from Southampton on 12 January that year bound for Wellington, New Zealand on the ‘Dominion Monarch’. But, on 11 April 1952 Nora arrived back in Southampton without her husband. On 26 Feb 1951, Norman Burgoyne Perkins died at the Berea Nursing Home in Durban, South Africa. Norman's health clearly took a turn for the worse on that trip.

From 1921 until 1933 Nora and Reg Coombes lived at ‘Zillmere’ in Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, not far from Isabel Bradshaw when she and Richard lived in Prospect Terrace, Harrogate, prior to 1926.

Mrs Coombes and two hounds 1929 PHOTO Nora Coombes Shah ez Sheereef of Wahsdarb)

In 1956 Nora Perkins arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have no further knowledge of what became her, but I have attached a picture (shown on head of this page) taken of her as she set out on that journey .

Lyall Payne, September 2017

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