Frank Cannon Kingshott

My great great grandfather John Kingshott had a total of 19 children. One of these was Frank Cannon Kingshott.   

 

Frank Cannon Kingshott was born on 13th January 1891 at our ancestral village of Fernhurst, Sussex. His middle name is his mum's maiden name, although it was sometimes recorded Canning. He was John & Ann Kingshott's eighth child and came along just before the 1891 census was taken on the evening of 5th April 1891. He appears there aged 3 months and can be seen by clicking the image below.

1891 Census Image Reproduced by kind permission of The National Archives & Ancestry.com Operations Inc.

In common with some of this brothers, Frank joined the army, serving with the Royal Artillery. He joined is a boy soldier at the age of 15.

 

At some time during his early army career Frank did a spell in the Military Prison at Aldershot, still known today as the “Glass House”. It is believed that his Sergeant Major swore at him, so Frank hit him and broke his jaw! Definitely a Kingshott there then!  

 

By the time of the Great War he was old enough to be deployed and went across to the Western Front as one of the small number of professional soldiers that would later become known as the "Old Contemptibles". He fought at the Battle of Mons and was one of those who claimed to have seen the legendary Angel of Mons. He suffered, as did most of the troops on the Western Front, and was gassed more than once. He also suffered from trench-foot which affected him for the rest of his life.

He remained throughout the war years and according to his medal card was awarded the 1914 (Mons) Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. 

Just prior to the war Frank married a London girl called Elizabeth Ada Tombs. They married at Bramshott, Hampshire, on 30th May 1914. Interestingly her brother, Harry Tombs, married Frank's sister, Amelia Ann Kingshott.

 

Frank and Elizabeth were to have three children. The first was Reginald Frank Louvaine Kingshott, who was born on 14th December 1914. His unusual middle name was a place in France or Belgium where Frank fought during the war. The second, born 23rd October 1916 was Stanley Leslie Leon Kingshott, and a third, Beryl Heartsease Sybil Kingshott came along in 1926. Beryl is still going strong and lives up in Taunton and has kindly provided the photographs for this page.

Frank and Elizabeth Kingshott with daughter Beryl

Reginald and Stanley Kingshott with their father Frank

At one point after his discharge from the army Frank had a leather goods shop at 10 Brighton Road, Surbiton. He eventually became an Insurance Agent for The Hearts of Oak Insurance Company and lived in Isleworth, Middlesex. For a while the family prospered, moving to a more expensive house at 7 Brantwood Avenue, Isleworth. They even bought a new car, which was a convertible, Keystone Cops type of car, called a DFP.

 

After this, Frank tried his hand at farming. His daughter, Beryl Penver, recalls:-

"Sometime during 1933/4, Dad decided he wanted to become a farmer and after looking a several small-holdings we moved to Rock House, Tillington, near Petworth. From a nearly-new house in Isleworth with all mod-cons, my Mother found herself in an old farmhouse with no running water (two wells – one with a pump and the other with a bucket and wind-up gear) no sanitation (chamber-pots under the beds,  a two-seater with buckets in a small building at the end of a very long garden) and a tin bath on the flagstones in front of an Inglenook fire in the huge kitchen. There was also a “Guy Fawkes” kind of cellar underneath the house with which my brothers lost no opportunity to scare the wits out of their troublesome small sister."   

Unfortunately things did not work out for Frank and he lost a lot of money on the farm. His early army service had prevented him effectively learning the trade, and there were a couple of subsequent bad crop seasons. Added to this, the worldwide depression was raging and Frank's health was deteriorating.

 

Frank was to see one more Christmas, in 1934, and sadly died from meningitis at Isleworth Infirmary, Middlesex, England on 16th January 1935 at the age of 44.

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