About the Major

The Memorial Sound Archive was founded in memory of the renowned explorer Major Herbert Maxwell Fosdyke Curmudgeon, who was sadly lost in the Andes in 1939.

Major Curmudgeon was a larger than life character. Born in 1900, 'The Herbert' as he was known at  School, served in Africa in WWI, spending some time in the Belgian Congo. Not altogether useful as this was several hundred miles from the British lines. Navigation, it turned out, was not to be his strong point.

Nonetheless, in the inter-war years he went on to become a reknowned explorer, inventing a number of items of technical equipment, the culmintation of which was the Snow-Mobile, a ride-on mini-tractor which used 200 pairs of army boots to move about on in place of wheels or tracks.

"Snow, sand, swamp, it's all the same to me and the mobile."

Prior to the catastrophic Andes exhibition in 1939, the Major took an expedition up the Amazon where all three Snow-Mobiles promptly broke down.

The Major was a great advocate of technology and of recorded music in particular. It is thought the weight of his wind-up grampophone player and 800 shellack 78 RPM discs was responsible for sinking his barge on the Nile in 1928.

The one thing he would not countenance was the aeroplane:

"...unsafe, unsound, it's madness I tell you."

It is ironic that his brother Gordon and son Arthur (later Wing Commander Sir Arthur Curmudgeon) both served in the RAF.

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