Portman, Arthur Fitzhardinge Berkeley
He was the son of the Reverend the Hon. Wyndham Fitzhardinge Berkeley Portman, Rector of Staple Fitzpaine, and of Orchard Portman. His mother was Frances Anne Portman, the elder daughter of the Reverend William Nicholas Darrell BD, Rector of Stanhope, County Durham.
Portman left Winchester in 1874, and was in the Merchant Service from 1877 to 1886. At one time he lived in Decorah, Iowa, USA. He was, according to The Times,” one of the leading authorities on matters connected with the turf, and a fine judge of blood-stock…” As a result, Portman was a regular correspondent of The Field and Horse and Hound on shooting and hunting subjects. Indeed, under the pseudonym ‘Audax’ he wrote for Horse and Hound for fifty years, being its editor and senior director. His father had founded the magazine in 1884: Portman took over as editor in 1890.
“He belonged in some ways to a bygone age, but he was one of the ablest racing journalists that there has ever been… He was a fine writer, who would never allow any looseness in the English language, in which he had been brought up. He may have had foibles: he would always give a jockey his Christian name – Gordon Richards, Stephen Donoghue, Bernard Carslake, Frederick Lane, Eph Smith, Thomas Weston – and such names were always to be found in his accounts of the week’s racing.
Further, he liked order in everything. I shall never forget an occasion when he came to me in the paddock at Newmarket and asked why I had written in these Notes the day’s races in the wrong order. It was a day after a Cambridgeshire, and I had begun the Notes with that race and not with some minor event which I had left to the last. I suspected, and afterwards learned, that he used The Times to assist him in his own notes.
He was a great worker, and I have seen him at many places and at many times correcting the proofs of his paper when other guests at the same house party were preparing for the short journey to the afternoon’s racing. He was a most thorough and hard-working journalist, and it is as that that he would most certainly like to be remembered. I would best compare him with that cricket enthusiast, Sydney Pardon, the famous editor of Wisden’s, the last of the great Victorian cricket characters. If Horse and Hound had published an annual to correspond with Wisden’s, none other than Arthur Portman could have been asked to edit it”. (The Times).
On September 18th 1940 he and his wife Mary and their servants were killed by enemy action – among the two hundred to die on the ground in London that day – when a bomb struck their home, 29 Montagu Square, Marylebone, London. Portman was seventy-nine years old, his wife seventy, and they are both buried in St. Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Cemetery.
A memorial service was held for them at St. Mark’s Church, North Audley Street, at 1430 on Wednesday October 2nd 1940.
- Surname: Portman
- Forenames or initials: Arthur Fitzhardinge Berkeley
- House: C
- Years in School: 1872-1874
- Rank: Civilian
- Regiment: NA
- Date of Birth: 18th November 1859
- Date of Death: 18th September 1940
- How Died: Killed in an air raid
- Location in War Cloister: Not commemorated
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: St Marylebone Metropolitan Borough Cemetery, London