Friday, September 05, 2014
73165 Private Frank Chatfield, Middlesex Regt
Frank Chatfield was the third oldest son of Alfred and Mary Chatfield of Newick. He appears on the 1901 census living with them and his brothers and sisters at The Rough in Newick. The household comprised Alfred Chatfield (aged 42, head of the family, born at Fletching and working as a domestic gardener), his wife Mary (aged 42, born in Newick) and their six children: Mabel Chatfield (aged 14, born Fletching), Emily Chatfield (aged 13, born Fletching), Harry Chatfield (aged ten, born Uckfield), Frank (aged eight, born Fletching), John Chatfield (aged four) and Thomas Chatfield (aged two, born Newick).
There were other children as well. The 1891 census shows the family living at Church Street, Uckfield. Alfred Chatfield (aged eight, born at Fletching) and Alice Mary Chatfield (aged six, born at Fletching) had obviously left the family home by the time the 1901 census was taken. Harry Chatfield is recorded as “infant Chatfield aged under one month”.
Chailey Parish Magazine first mentions him in April 1916 recording, Chatfield, Private F, 27th Middlesex, England. In January 1917 it notes that he has been invalided and then the following month records that he has still been invalided but is serving with the 3rd East Surrey Regiment. The following month there is another change of regiment recorded – the 2/9th Royal Scots – and again the information that he has been invalided. In January 1918, the parish magazine notes that he is serving with the Labour Corps (invalided) and this information is then repeated monthly up to and including the final published roll call in July 1919.
The 27th Middlesex Regiment was formed as a local reserve battalion in late 1915 and from September 1st 1916 became the 101st Training Reserve Battalion. It and the 3rd East Surrey Regiment (also a reserve battalion), remained in England throughout the war. The medal card I have reproduced below is almost certainly Frank's. It indicates that he also received a silver war badge and from this roll we can see that Frank enlisted on the 11th December 1915, almost certainly under the Derby Scheme, and was discharged due to sickness on the 17th July 1919. This information ties in very neatly with that recorded in Chailey's parish magazine.
Notes made by his old headmaster, John Oldaker of Newick school, where Frank had been a pupil between 1901 and 1903, state that he enlisted in January 1916, went overseas in June that year and was invalided to England two months later.
The photograph on this page, which Frank sent to John Oldaker, was taken in a studio in Northampton and shows him sporting the Middlesex Regiment cap badge. Three of Frank Chatfield’s brothers – Harry, John and Thomas – also served their King and Country during the First World War.
My thanks to Simon Stevens for sharing John Oldaker's First World War album.