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Amhurst, Frank

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.

Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton

SOURCES :- Ancestry, Find My Past, Anglo.Boer

Last updated : 10 Sept 2016

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Andrews, Thomas

Private 2779

4th Queens Own Hussars


Thomas Andrews was born on the 2nd of January 1872 in Kensington ( the date of birth being taken from the 1939 register)
Nothing much is known about his family and early years. His army pension records show that he had a younger brother John who was resident in Beechholme at some point, and a sister called Anne.

His father was called Thomas and he had been employed as a milkman but was deceased by the time of  Thomas junior’s marriage. From the Poor Law records Thomas was admitted to the school on the 20th of May 1879. His next of kin was given as a stepmother Agnes Andrews, but a letter sent to her had been returned with " Gone Away " written on it.

In 1881 Thomas is resident in Beechholme. There are no other siblings listed with the same surname.

Thomas's date of sending out from the school was the 12th of October 1886 when he was aged fourteen years. He was in the employ of Mr. A. Dolomore a milkman of 17, Adrian Terrace, West Brompton.

Thomas enlisted on the 10th of October 1889 into the 4th Queens Own Hussars. He was described as being 5 feet 7 inches in height and of fair complexion with hazel eyes and brown hair. His occupation was given as labourer.

In 1897 he married Irene or Irena Hull at Christ Church, Notting Hill. His occupation was given as a groom.The couple’s only child Violet Katie Elizabeth was born the following year.

His pension records show that he was designated part of the 2nd Remount Company who as such were sent out to the Boer War to reinforce other cavalry regiments.

The remount service was the body responsible for the purchase and training of horses and mules for use by the British army between 1887 and 1942.

The 2nd remount company embarked for South Africa on the SS Assuage on the 28th of February 1900.

                       Horse picket remount station Thomas Andrews Boer War            

Horse picket remount station drawn on to make up General French’s losses. Naawport 1900.

As such it is hard to pinpoint exactly where Thomas may have been during this conflict. He was hospitalized at Port Elizabeth for a bout of enteric fever which he had caught from the horse pond close to camp. The records state that he had not been inoculated .

Thomas was back home on the 24th of August 1902 and was discharged on the 10th of October the same year on the termination of his first period of engagement. His character was described as being very good and temperate. His intended place of residence was Hammersmith. His medal entitlement for South Africa was the 1901 and 1902 South African medals.

He re-enlisted in 1903 for a further four years during which time he received and passed gunner training.

On the 1911 census the family were living at 10, Townsend Street, Bermondsey and Thomas was employed as a carman.

On the outbreak of the Great War Thomas enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner and after training he arrived in France on the 20th of December 1914. He was almost 42 years old at this time and he served abroad until the 8th of February 1916.

Once back in England it seems Thomas spent his time training other men until the end of his service which was the 31st of March 1920.

For this war service he was awarded the 1915 Star, British and Victory medals. The 1939 register shows Thomas and his wife living in Surrey Square, Southwark. Thomas was employed as a dock labourer.

Thomas died in St Giles hospital, Camberwell on the 2nd of December 1957. His death certificate is contained within his pension records and shows that he died of bronchopneumonia, coronary arteriosclerosis and essential hypertension. He was in receipt of an army pension of 10s 11d per week at this time.


Research by Rachel and Jim Stapleton

SOURCES :- Ancestry,  Find My Past,  National Army Museum,  Wikepedia,  Photo courtesy of “The Genealogist” ,  Anglo Boer

Last updated 18 Aug 2016


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