F. T. Frisby
Service no. 26192
Private, Grenadier Guards, 1st Battalion
Died on 12 October 1917, aged 36
Enlisted at Battersea
Remembered at Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
Chris Burge writes:
Frank Thomas Frisby was born on 4 April 1881, the first child of parents John Hulbert and Mary Ann Frisby. He was baptised as an infant on 29 May 1881 at St. James’s, Piccadilly. The family had moved to Stockwell around the time of his third birthday as the family grew with the addition of two more children, Louisa Jane Frisby and Arthur Hulbert Frisby.
Frank married Ellen Susannah Reed at St Michael’s Church, Stockwell on Christmas Eve 1900. At the time of their wedding, Frank said he was a ‘cellar man’ and the couple gave their address as 55 Russell Street.
A decade later, at the time of the 1911 census, Frank and Ellen Frisby were living in five rooms at 52 Union Road, Clapham. They had no children. Frank was now a fishmonger and employed at least one person. Widower Harry Morgan boarded with them, giving his occupation as ‘fish fryer’.
Frank and Ellen’s comfortable life was to be shattered by the Great War. Like anyone trying to run a business, the introduction of conscription early in 1916 made labour even harder to find and dwindling fish supplies led to a doubling of prices by 1916. Who could afford fish suppers now?
Conscription was soon extended to married men after its introduction, and Frank’s turn came in the summer of 1916. His army service number, 26192, is consistent with recruits to the 1st Bn. Grenadier Guards in July and August of that year. Frank would be sent to France towards the end of 1916.
Frank had been on the Western Front for close on a year when the his battalion took part in the opening of the First Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 1917. Frank Thomas Frisby was killed in action on that day.
In due course, Ellen Susannah Frisby received a War Gratuity and widow’s pension, meagre compensation for her loss. Her husband’s medals followed in 1920. With no known grave, Frank Thomas Frisby was one of the thousands of names added to the Tyne Cot Memorial, unveiled in 1927.
In common with other families, Frank Thomas Frisby’s name was added to the headstone marking the grave of his parents at Lambeth Cemetery, Blackshaw Road, Tooting. The simple inscription reads ‘Also FRANK THOMAS FRISBY (son) Killed in action (Belgium) 12th October, 1917. Aged 36 years.
Surely it was Ellen Frisby who arranged for her husband’s name to appear on the Stockwell Memorial. Ellen continued to live at 52 Union Road into the 1930s, only moving to Tooting near the time of her death in 1944.
Frank’s brother, Arthur Hulbert Frisby, married with four children, had volunteered in 1915 and served in the Royal Engineers throughout the War, returning safely to his family in May 1919.