King Edward’s School and the Great War

Memorial Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918


Fawcett, Frank Aldridge

Second Lieutenant ▪ 5th South Staffordshire Regiment

Frank Aldridge Fawcett, born on 17th August 1896, was admitted to King Edward’s School in January 1911, having attended The College, Bromsgrove. He lived with his father, Frederick, Managing Director of Fawcett Brothers Ltd. overall manufacturers, and his mother, Kate, at 32, Springfield Road, Kings Heath (and later at Clarence House, Moseley).

At School, Frank was a Lance-Corporal in the Officer Training Corps, and performed solidly in his academic pursuits. After leaving School, he became an accountant at Tyndall and Hall of Birmingham.

Frank was granted a commission in the 5th South Staffordshire Regiment on 15th September 1915, and after a short spell in Egypt, went to France with his unit, which was to be involved in the major British offensive planned for the summer of 1916. In a letter dated 18th April 1916 to his Uncle Jack, Frank wrote: “I’m a battalion Bombing Officer, which is a bit of a hot job, hence had quite an exciting 12 hours. Lost a few pals, which is rotten. Mining has been our chief trouble: the morale effect of a mine going up in one’s trench is bad. The crater of one was 50 feet deep and about 60 yards across…am writing this in an old German dugout – very well fitted, two beds, fireplace, mantelpiece, and one or two pictures, table (polished?), chair and lamp, hence we are very safe and very comfortable.” At dawn on 1st July 1916, the South Staffs left their trenches and went forward into the attack near Gommecourt. Second Lieutenant Fawcett was never seen again and was posted on that day as missing, presumed killed, in action. His body was never recovered. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, as well as on the Moseley Ashfield Cricket Club Memorial, and on both St Mary’s Church and St Agnes’ Church Memorials, Moseley.

After the death of their son, Frederick and Kate Fawcett moved to Cheltenham Spa, and when the Charlton Kings War Memorial was raised there, Frank’s name was added to it. Frank’s father, a strong Unionist, became chairman of the Conservative Association in Charlton Kings, being re-elected nine times. A benefactor of Cheltenham General Hospital, Frederick and his wife raised the then considerable sum of £7,000 for that institution. In recognition of his work, a plaque in commemoration of his only son, Frank, was placed in the public area of the General Hospital.