Frank Brewster Green arrived in Chelmsford from Suffolk by 1911 and worked as a miller and then at the town’s Hoffmann’s bearings factory. Having joined the army he went to France in November 1916, was invalided home between March and November 1917, was wounded in August 1918 and killed in action in September 1918. His home was in Victoria Road. His elder brother was also killed during the war.
GREEN, FRANK BREWSTER,
Private, 9th (Service) Battalion, Essex Regiment
Herbert is not commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
In November 1917, after seven months in hospital, Frank returned to France. He was subsequently wounded in August 1918.
Early the following month Frank’s battalion was resting near Manacourt in the Somme, preparing for an attack to capture the village of Épehy, a strongly defended outpost of the Hindenberg Line (an action subsequently known as the ‘Battle of Épehy’). The battalion, together with the 7th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment managed to capture the southern end of the village. Comrades from the 1st/1st Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment then went into Épehy at considerable cost allowing Frank’s battalion and the Norfolks to push on.
Frank was born at Layham, Suffolk in 1892, the son of Stripling George Green and Mary Ann Green (nee Gant). His father had been born in 1857 in Hadleigh, Suffolk; his mother in 1858 in Whatfield, Suffolk. They had married on Christmas Day 1878 at Hadleigh Congregational Church. By 1881 the couple were living in George Street, Hadleigh, and by 1891 in Lower Street, Layham and Frank’s father was a master blacksmith.
Frank’s seven siblings included Harry T. Green (born in 1880 in Hadleigh, Suffolk), Herbert Christopher G. Green (1884-1917) in Aldham, Suffolk), Bertha Ruth Green (born in 1886 in Aldham), Agnes Lily N. Green (born in 1888 in Layham). By 1911 only three of them would be alive.
The 1901 census found nine year-old Frank living with his parents and two elder sisters at In Street, Earl Soham in Suffolk, where his father was a baptist minister.
In 1911 the census listed 19 year-old Frank living with his brother Harry, Harry’s wife and three children at 3 Brockley Road in Springfield. Frank was a general miller; his brother a rollerman miller at a flour manufacturer’s (probably for Marriage’s). At the time their parents were living in Matching Green with daughter Agnes.
Frank’s father died in 1915, aged 57.
Frank lived and enlisted at Chelmsford, serving as Private 29266 in the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Essex Regiment. Prior to joining up he had work for Hoffmann’s. His battalion was part of the 35th Brigade in the 12th (Eastern) Division, one of six Divisions which together formed the first part of ‘Kitchener’s Army’ from August 1914. The battalion was raised at Shornecliffe in Kent. The battalion had landed in France at the end of May/start of June 1915, entering the front line in July 1915 near Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium, close to the French border, a comparatively quiet sector.
Frank initially landed in France in November 1916, but returned to England the following March suffering from trench feet and dysentery. While home news came of his brother Herbert’s death, killed by a sniper, a story covered by The Essex Weekly News of 20th April 1917:
“Pte. Herbert C. G. Green, Bedford Regt., Lewis Gun Section, late of 935, Romford Road, Manor Park, and second son of Mrs. Green, 60, Victoria-road, Chelmsford, was killed in action on Feb. 11, aged 33 years. Deceased joined the Army last June, prior to which he had been employed at Ilford Ltd., for 15 years. He leaves a widow. Another son of Mrs. Green, Pte. Frank B. Green, Essex Regt., formerly employed at the Hoffmann Works, is in hospital in England suffering from trench foot and dysentery.”
A week later the Essex County Chronicle also mentioned Frank:
“Pt. Herbert C. G. Green, Bedford Regt., Lewis Gun Section, son of Mrs. Green, 60 Victoria Road, Chelmsford, was killed in action on Feb. 11, aged 33. Deceased had been employed at Ilford Ltd. For 15 years. He leaves a widow. Another son of Mrs. Green, Pt. Frank B Green, Essex R., formerly employed at the Hoffmann Works, is suffering from trench feet and dysentery.”
By 7.45 on 18th September 1918 the German’s held on to all but the north-eastern end of Épehy. Frank was among the heavy British casualties that day, killed in action by machine gun fire. He was aged 27.
On 18th October 1918 the Essex Weekly News carried a report on Frank’s death:
“Pte. Frank B. Green, Essex Regt., youngest son of Mrs. Green, 60 Victoria-rd., Chelmsford, was killed on Sept. 16 [sic], aged 27. A letter received from the deceased’s officer stated that he was killed by a machine-gun bullet death being instantaneous. Pte. Green first went to France in November, 1916, returning to England in March, 1917, suffering from trench feet and dysentery, for which he was in hospital seven months. Proceeding again to France in the following November, he was then attached to a Trench Mortar Battery, but after a time was transferred to the infantry again. He was wounded in August of this year, and was expected home on leave this month. Before the war and until he joined up deceased worked at Hoffmann’s. This is the second son Mrs. Green has lost in the war. Pte. Herbert C. G. Green, Bedford Regt., Lewis gunner, late of 935 Romford-rd., Manor Park, was killed by a sniper on Feb. 11, 1917, aged 33.”
Frank has no known grave and is commemorated on Vis-En-Artois Memorial, Haucourt, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, by the Chelmsford Parish Great War Memorial in Chelmsford Cathedral, and on the Hoffmann Manufacturing Company’s War Memorial at Chelmsford Cathedral. He was entitled to the Victory and British War medals.
The 1918 register of electors listed Frank’s mother still at 60 Victoria Road, Chelmsford.