Private, Drummer 5174
1st Kings Own Royal Lancaster (Regiment illegible on panel)
Frank Amhurst (the name is sometimes spelt Amherst) was born on the 22nd of June 1879 in Kensington. This date was taken from the 1939 register.
He was the son of Caroline Amhurst. This is an unusual name yet there appears to be no trace of a christening record for Frank or indeed a birth entry under this surname.
On the 1881 census Caroline describes herself as “married” but there is no husband on the census. Caroline and Frank were living at this time at 299, Ifield Road in Kensington. Ifield Road was coloured pink to purple on the poverty map so fairly comfortable with good ordinary earnings mixed with a few poor. Frank was aged one at this time.
Caroline died in 1889 and it was this event that led to Frank’s admission to Beechholme on the 5th of July that year. Poor Law records describe Frank as being illegitimate. His next of kin was Eliza Palmer of 2, Manning Place, East Street. The relationship between Frank and this woman was unrecorded.
By the time the 1891census was taken Frank is resident in Beechholme, and there are no other children there at this time with this surname.
Frank was sent out from the school on the 20th of December 1894 aged fifteen to Mr. A. Spender of 29, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. The type of employment is not recorded. A follow up report dated the 18th of August 1896 states “ Gone on board training ship Exmouth. Having a good character . Left Mr. Spender’s service in June 1895. Discharged from the Exmouth on the 21st of July 1896 and now army band boy.”
Frank had enlisted on the 22nd of July 1896. His age was given as 14 years and 2 months and his occupation given as musician. He was described as being 4 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 82 pounds. He had a fresh complexion and blue eyes and brown hair. He had a birthmark on the back of his right leg..
Frank was appointed drummer on the 1st of February 1898.
His army service records show that he served with his regiment in Malta, Hong Kong and Singapore before being sent to South Africa on the 17th of February 1901. He remained there until the 9th of April 1903 when he was sent back to England until the termination of his first period of engagement on the 21st of July 1908.
He was awarded the Queens South African medal with Transvaal, 1901 and 1902 clasps.
His next of kin was given as a friend, Mrs Spender of 45, Sloane Street, Chelsea, (perhaps the wife of his former employer).
Much of the work undertaken by the Kings Own Royal Lancaster regiment during the Boer War has been covered under other regiments and other soldiers' stories..
It would appear that Frank arrived in South Africa later than the date given for the regiment’s arrival in the Cape which was toward the end of 1899.
On the 1911 census Frank was living at 31 Wilfred Street in Accrington, Lancashire. He was described as a boarder who was employed as a postman and he was single.
Later that same year he married Elizabeth Hawker in the Blackburn registration district. The surname was then given as Amherst. His wife may have been married before.
On the 1939 register Frank was living with his wife at 50, Monk Street, Accrington. His occupation was given as a retired postman.
Frank died in 1958 in the registration district of Haslingdon, Lancashire.