Wednesday, September 24, 2014

154169 Gnr Frank George Mainwood, RGA

Frank George Mainwood was born in Newick, Sussex on 25th April 1885.  He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as a 15 year old gardener living at The Rough, Newick.  The household comprised Samuel Mainwood (head, married, aged 47 and working as a gardener), his wife Martha Mainwood (nee Hayward, also aged 47), Harry Cecil Mainwood (son, aged 18, also working as a gardener), Frank George, and Lilian Jane Mainwood (daughter, aged ten). 

His partial service record which exists as a burnt document at The National Archives in Kew tells us that he married on Mabel Ansley Mary on 24th April 1912 and that a son, Frank William Mainwood was born at Chailey on 3rd October 1913.  (His service papers are not always clear to read and it is probable that I have transcribed his wife’s name incorrectly.  David Mainwood  - see acknowledgements - has his wife's name as Violet A M Davis).

Frank Mainwood was “deemed to have been enlisted” on 24th June 1916.  His descriptive report on joining gave his age as 31 years and two months and his height as five feet, eight and three quarter inches.  He gave his wife as his next of kin and his address as Allingham Road, Newick although this was later crossed out and “Cinder Cottage, Cinder Hill, Chailey” written in its place.  This address in turn was later corrected elsewhere as Upper Roeheath Lodge, Cinder Hill, Chailey.  His religion was recorded as Baptist.

On 28th November 1916 he was called up for service, enlisting with the Royal Garrison Artillery at Brighton for the duration of the war.  He was given the number 154169 and it was noted that he had previously served with the Royal Army Medical Corps.  He was posted to the Army Reserve on 29th November and on 10th April 1917 posted to the RGA depot.  Sixteen days later he was posted to number 417 Siege Battery and on 20th August he sailed for France.  The following month, Chailey Parish Magazine noted: Mainwood, Gnr F G, RGA.

On 15th October 1917 he was posted to the Base and, one week later, to another battery – 245 Siege Battery.

It was whilst serving with this battery that, on 4th January 1918, Frank Mainwood sustained a gunshot wound to his face that resulted in the loss of his right eye.

On 6th August 1918, the Ministry of Pensions granted him a weekly pension of 27 shillings and six pence for four weeks from 15th August 1918, thereafter a weekly pension of sixteen shillings and sixpence, to be reviewed after 48 weeks.  He was discharged from the army on 14th August 1918 as no longer physically fit for war service.  He received the British War and Victory Medals and a silver war badge, number 433559.

It is likely that he was related to another soldier recorded in the parish magazine by Reverend Jellicoe: William Mainwood.  This is probably the same William Mainwood who was born in Fletching in 1893 and if it is, he and Frank, shared common great-grandparents.
I am grateful to David Mainwood for contacting me and providing additional details from Frank Mainwood’s birth certificate, as well as other general details about the this particular branch of the Mainwood family tree. Thanks too to Simon Stevens for the photo of  Frank Mainwood in his RGA uniform. Frank also appears in this Chailey and Newick Branch NFDDSS photo (back row, second left) taken outside the King's Head in 1921.

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