Frank Warner


Frank Edward Warner (23 December 1898 – 18 March 1917)

Frank Warner was so very far away from home in India and at the age of 18 years and 3 months he was the youngest from Tattingstone to die.  Frank had grown up in the village and he lived with his parents Robert and Lucy Warner in a house of only five rooms somewhere “near the Church” where they brought up their eleven children.  Frank was educated at the National School in the village.

This is what was written about him by the Reverend Charles Elliott in his book the Liber Vitae dedicated to the men from Tattingstone who served in the First World War:

“Having long been eager to serve his Country, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on February 16th 1916, three of his brothers being already in the Army.   After a short training he was sent to India, where he was fatally wounded by an accident while in the execution of his duty and died on March 28th 1917 at the early age of 18 years and three months.  He was buried at Hyderabad where his death took place.”

He is commemorated on the Karachi Memorial, Pakistan (then in India).

Frank was a Driver with the 101st Battery Royal Field Artillery.  Now my first thought was that being a driver was rather special back in those early days of the automobile car, especially for a young man like Frank.  But no, in WW1 a driver in the Army rode on a team of horses pulling wagons, guns, ambulances or equipment and supplies.  Each wagon had a team of six horses, three pairs of two.  Drivers were usually privates in rank, but designated “Driver” to distinguish them from infantrymen.

It was puzzling why Frank was in India is India is not one of the WW1 battlefields that immediately spring to mind.  However it turned out that the 101st Battery was at Hyderabad and under command of 4th (Quetta) Division of the Indian Army and remained there throughout the war.  Its purpose was to defend the Indian subcontinent from the threat of Russian invasion via Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier. At that time India was still a colony and part of the British Empire.

We can only imagine what it must have been like for young Frank “eager to serve his Country” all those thousands of miles from home, in a country so very different from England.  And mysteriously he didn’t die in an act of war but in an accident.

Of his three older brothers Sidney had already been serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery before the War; Ernest joined the Royal Garrison Artillery and George went in the Royal Field Artillery and was wounded in Gallipolli.

 

(War Grave information courtesy of Jennifer Jones and Jean Austin)