The Men from Hyde – Frank Samuel Lewington

Frank Samuel Lewington was born in 1890 in Winchester. His parents were James John and Alice Lewington (nee Stubbs) who had married in Winchester in 1883.

Frank’s father James was born in 1860, also in Winchester, one of 8 children who lived in the Middle Brooks ‘Tenement’ and Colebrook Street.

In the 1891 census, James is living with Alice and their children George Henry (7), William C (4) and Frank S (8 months) at 72 Lower Brook Street. James is a rural postman.

In the 1901 census, 10 year old Frank Samuel is staying with his uncle and aunt, John and Elizabeth Heath, in Beckenham, Kent.  Meanwhile his parents are living at 77, Canon Street with two children Wilson C (14, errand boy; should be William) and John James (4), and Alice’s mother Ann Stubbs, aged 84.

In the 1911 census, James (51) is still working as a rural postman.  He gives his place of birth as ‘St Peter’s, Cheesehill’ (now called Chesil Street).  Alice is 50 years old.  Their youngest child John James (14) is with them, also two young boarders aged 9 and 10, and an elderly lodger, ‘deaf and dumb from birth’.  The family is now living at 14, North Walls. Where is Frank? He is registered in the census as a visitor at the home of Ernest and Amelia Rendle in St Denys, Southampton.  He is aged 21 and works as a dyer and cleaner.  His brother William Charles is a servant, aged 24, working as an ‘ostler and boots’ servant at the Crown Hotel in Alton.  In the same census, a relative, perhaps an uncle, Wilson Charles Lewington, is a Post Office pensioner at the age of 41, and lives with his wife of 10 years and three children at 15, Nuns Road; this will later provide the Hyde connection.

It is not known when Frank enlisted.  He gives his home address as 14 North Walls, the address of his parents in the 1911 census. He joined the 9th (service) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment with the service number 17218, first as a Corporal and then as a 2nd Lieutenant.  The Battalion was formed at Norwich in 1914 and mobilised for war in August 1915.  The Battalion landed at Boulogne and was engaged in various actions on the Western Front.

The First Battles of the Somme were fought from 21st March – 5th April 1918. After transferring very large forces from the now-collapsed Eastern Front, the German Army committed to a series of large-scale offensives and inflicted large losses on the Allies.  British battle positions were penetrated at various points, especially near St Quentin.  The Battle of St Quentin lasted from 21st –23rd March 1918.  Frank was Killed in Action on the first day of the battle. He was 28 years old.

He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial which commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7th August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and who have no known grave.

Frank’s parents are noted as living in Paynes Lane, Broughton, Stockbridge, at the time of his death.  His father James died in 1930 in Stockbridge, aged 70. His mother Alice lived to the age of 95, dying in Bournemouth in 1955.

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