Wednesday, December 24, 2014

240819 Cpl Frank Ford, 5th Royal Sussex Regiment

Chailey Parish Magazine notes in March 1915 that Frank Ford is serving his King and Country.  In October 1915 it reports, Ford, Private F, 5th Royal Sussex, England following this up in November with the information that he is now in France.  In November 1916 his rank is noted as lance-corporal and In July 1918, corporal. 

Frank served continuously from March 1915 until the final published roll call in Chailey’s parish magazine in July 1919.  The National Archives lists two numbers for him: 5/3110 and 240819 (the new number he was assigned when the Territorial Force was re-numbered in 1917).  He almost certainly enlisted with Erle Bristow of Chailey as the two men’s numbers are virtually identical.  Erle’s numbers with the 5th Royal Sussex were 5/3109 and later, 240818. 

The 1901 census of England and Wales notes a 13 year old Frank Ford living in Chailey village with his widowed mother Elizabeth Ford (aged 55 and earning a living through cleaning – or “charing”)  and two brothers: John Ford (aged 15) and George C Ford (aged 26).  All three sons are noted as agricultural labourers and all three are noted as having been born in Chailey.  

Frank and John Ford were cousins of Archie, Ashley, Aubrey and Harry Tapp (Elizabeth Ford’s maiden name was Tapp and she was the sister of the Tapp Brothers’ father, Joseph).  A John Ford also appears in Chailey’s parish magazine as does an F Ford and either or both of these men may be related to Frank Ford and/or the Tapp brothers.
Frank Ford's partial; service record survives as a burnt document in WO 363. Possibly the most interesting paper amongst those that survive is a letter from Frank's employer, Albert Turner & Son, timber merchants of Nutley, Uckfield. This badly damaged single page, sent to the Ministry of Labour and requesting Frank's discharge from the army confirms that he worked as a sawyer with the company before 4th August 1914 and cites him as a corporal serving with No 13 platoon, D Company, 5th Royal Sussex Regiment.

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