Sunday, September 30, 2007

238372 Gunner Frank William King, RFA

Frank William King was the eldest child of William and Mary King (nee Howell) and was born at Balneath Cottages, Chailey on 28th August 1898.  William became farm bailiff at Yokehurst, and at Michaelmas 1905 took over Pouchlands Farm, where Frank's younger brother Ernest was born and brought up.  The two boys both went to Chailey School and did a milk round with the horse and cart before and after school, delivering Pouchlands milk, cream and butter.

In 1916, Frank was 18 and had already joined Lord Derby's Volunteers.  The photograph reproduced on this page was taken in 1916 and shows Frank wearing a Derby Scheme armlet - an essential addition to a volunteer's wardrobe at a time when white feathers were still liberally handed out to men out of uniform.

Frank went to France with the Royal Field Artillery and survived uninjured, although no records have yet been discovered.  Chailey Parish Magazine first mentions him in June 1917 referring to him simply as King, Gunner F W, RFA and this information is then repeated monthly up to and including the final published roll in July 1919. 

The National Archives gives one possibility for Gunner Frank W King in the Royal Field Artillery (although three drivers of that name are listed), and that is 238372 Gunner Frank W King.
William King died in 1921 and Frank helped his mother run the farm for nearly ten years until he died in a tragic accident in May 1931. He was buried near his father in East Chiltington churchyard.
My thanks to Tim Bishop for contacting me and sending me the splendid photo of Frank.

No comments: