By David Footman
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Extra info for Antonin Besse of Aden: The Founder of St Antony’s College Oxford
His first contacts with AB must have been well before World War I; in the agreement it is stated they had been undertaking business on joint account or as agents for each other 'for many years'. The idea of partnership seems to have taken shape during AB's visit this summer. In August he wrote to Davis in Aden: 'It is most probable that I shall come to terms with Stoner instead of opening my own London office as had been my intention at one time'. A subsequent letter mentions an 'agreement with Stoner as to the working of both firms in America which should be satisfactory'.
A fortnight after this letter AB paid a flying visit to London to sign his agreement with Stoner, and then took ship for Aden. II John Jacob Stoner was considerably older than AB. His family home was in Germany and his family name was Stein. As a young man he settled in London: and in 1894 he became a British subject by naturalisation and assumed the name of Stoner by deed poll. He was an agent and general merchant with interests in various parts of the world. His first contacts with AB must have been well before World War I; in the agreement it is stated they had been undertaking business on joint account or as agents for each other 'for many years'.
He was not happy in Bombay. The place was hot and noisy and he was hard put to keep up the position required of him on his present salary. He wrote back that he was now getting 18 000 irs (£720) per annum with certain perquisites. Possibly in Aden he could manage with rather less. What did AB suggest? AB's reply gave no definite figure, but there was no doubt of his eagerness for Courmont to join him. 'Whatever the niche you most would like it is here waiting for you . As manager. As chefde service.