Francis Green

46083 Private Francis Samuel Green, 3rd Battalion, Oxon & Bucks Light Infantry

Born on 20th March 1899 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 31st May 1985 in Dagnall

Family and Home 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Francis Samuel (Frank) Green and his twin brother Gerald William Green were born in Little Gaddesden, the youngest of the four children of Samuel Green and Fanny née Worall. Francis and Gerald Green were baptised in St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 22nd July 1899.

Their sister Mary Dorothy was born on 30th June 1884 and their brother Charles John on 29th May 1893.

The family lived at 26 Little Gaddesden, which was then the School House as Francis’ father, Samuel (Sammy) Green was the Schoolmaster; he taught at Little Gaddesden School for 50 years. From 1863 to 1896 he was Assistant Master to the school’s first Headmaster John Worall, whose daughter Fanny he married in 1883. Then, in 1896 he became Headmaster, a role he held for eighteen years, retiring on 31st July 1914. He was also Church Organist, Choir Master and Sunday School Teacher. He was the Enumerator for the 1881, 1891 and 1901 Census returns, all written in his clear, firm hand.

Education 6

Francis and Gerald Green started in the Infants’ Class at Little Gaddesden School on the afternoon of 8th June 1903 when they were 4 years 1 month old. They stayed at the school until 16th September 1913 when Gerald Green (Standard 7), Francis Green (Standard 6) and Maurice Cox (Standard 6) left to go to Berkhamsted Boys Grammar School. Francis and Gerald Green were then aged 13.

Joining the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop 7

Francis and Gerald Green joined the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop at its start, October 26th 1911. Francis was in the Peewit Patrol, whose Patrol Leader Arthur Whitman was killed at St Julien on 31st July 1917, while Gerald Green was a member of the Lion Patrol, Patrol Leader Frank (Francis E.H.J) Johnson. The Scouts first met in the Reading Room at John o’Gaddesden’s House but meetings soon moved to the Armoury, at 27 Little Gaddesden, the home of their Scout Master, Harry Temple, who was assisted by 17 year old Bernard Phillips. 27 Little Gaddesden was next door to the School House. Miss Bridget Talbot was the Scouts’ President and Mr Humphrey Talbot their Treasurer.

Other members of the Peewit Patrol who subsequently served in the First World War were: Albert Basford, Philip Collier, Donald Goodman, Arthur Halsey and Arthur Pinnock.

Scouts in the other Patrols who served were: Stanley Austin, Sidney Bellamy, Edward Bunn, Kenneth Edge, Gerald Green, Bernard Halsey, Percy Hobbs, Frank (Henry F.) Johnson, George Pinnock, Archie Wells, Frank Whitman and Jim Whitman.

Boy Scouts’ Cook’s Badge – First skin your Rabbit 7

The Little Gaddesden Scout Diary records that, in Autumn 1912:

14 boys of the LG Troop were examined in the Park at Ashridge for their cook’s badges. Lord Brownlow presented a rabbit apiece to each boy. Fourteen fires were then lit, made up on some bricks + each boy proceeded to skin and boil his rabbit, adding vegetables + dumplings into his stew. The judges on this occasion were Lord Brownlow, Mrs Temple, Mrs Bridle, Mrs Flowers + Mr Jim Rodgers. Mr J Parsons presented 3 prizes for the best 3 saucepans of rabbit stew. Arthur Pinnock won the 1st prize.

We do not know who won 2nd and 3rd prizes, but the diary records that Francis was one of the 14 boys awarded his Cook’s Badge. Other Scout Cooks included Albert Basford, Edward Bunn, Gerald Green, Bernard Halsey, Percy Hobbs, Frank Johnson and Archie Wells.

A Move to Dagnall 6, 8

After Samuel’s retirement as Little Gaddesden Schoolmaster on 31st July 1914, the Green family moved to Dagnall. Francis’ Army Service Record gives their address as 17 Dagnall.

Military Service 8, 9

Francis’ Service Record states that he was ‘deemed to have been enlisted’ on 10th March 1917, just before his 18th Birthday, but that he was not called up for Service until 28th June 1918. He was then aged 19 years 3 months and his Service Record has a crossed out entry reading “just left College”, replaced by an entry indicating that he was an Engineer’s Apprentice. Although he wished to serve in the R.A.F., he was appointed to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, in which he served as a Private, Service Number 46083. Francis served in that battalion, which was a depot/ training unit based in Dover, until 3rd May 1919.

However, on 4th May 1919, Francis was posted to the 8th Battalion and sent as part of the Army of the Black Sea to Constantinople (Istanbul). He returned to England on 20th April 1920 and, on 18th May 1920, was discharged on demobilisation.

An addition to the Little Gaddesden Roll of Honour 5

The original, pre-Second World War, wording on the left hand panel of the Little Gaddesden War Memorial on the village green read:

This memorial is erected in honour of the one hundred and thirty six men who went from the villages of Little Gaddesden, Hudnall and Ringshall and served in the war of 1914 = 1918. The names of those who gave their lives for their country are cut on the stones here. The names of those who returned to England are preserved in the Church.

However, the Church Roll of Honour lists only 119 men; one of those omitted is Francis Green, possibly because he did not serve until 28th June 1918, by which time his family had moved to Dagnall. His name has been added to the 2018 Centenary Revision of the Roll of Honour, as has that of his twin brother Gerald Green. Francis is recorded in the 3rd Battalion, in which he served during the War.

Photo of 2018 revised roll of honour
Photo: Michael Carver

Return to Dagnall and Marriage 1, 10, 11

On completing his military service, Francis returned to Dagnall. Then, in 1926 (1st Quarter) he married Helena Harriett Busby; the marriage was registered in the Risbridge area of Suffolk. However, Francis and Helena returned to Dagnall and their daughter Bridget was born in 1928.

The Greens’ Garage at Dagnall 4, 12

In the 1920s after their War Service, Francis and Gerald Green opened their Motor Garage in Dagnall. In “A history of Dagnall Village”, Geoff Spencer notes that, at that time getting out of the village usually involved walking, cycling or going by horse and cart. Few cars came through the village and there were only four cars in it, one owned by the Greens.

In the 1939 Register, Francis’ brother Gerald Green is recorded as the Garage Proprietor and Francis as a Garage Mechanic, fitter and turner. By that time, Francis and Helena lived at 18 Main Road, Dagnall, next door to Gerald Green and their widowed mother Fanny at 17 Main Road, Dagnall. Both Francis and Helena were St John Ambulance First Aiders.

Later Life 13, 14, 15

On 26th June 1972, Francis’ wife Helena died, aged 72. By then they lived at 49 Main Road, Dagnall, Berkhamsted, Herts. Francis then remained at that address until his own death, aged 86, on 30th May 1985. However, his funeral service was held at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 7th June that year and he is buried in the new churchyard. His parents Samuel and Fanny Green and his grandparents John and Fanny Worall are also buried in Little Gaddesden Churchyard.

References

1. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcriptions

2. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Hertfordshire Baptisms

3. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1881 – 1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcriptions 

4. https://www.ancestry.co.uk The 1939 Register

5. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge

6. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906 and 1906 – 1934

7. Little Gaddesden Scout Diary 1912 – 1922, HALS, Hertford, Acc 3131

8. https://www.findmypast.co.uk British Army Service Records 1914-1920 Transcription

9. http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/oxfordshire-buckinghamshire-light-infantry/

10. https://www.findmypast.co.uk Electoral Registers 1832 – 1932

11. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales marriages 1837-2005 Transcriptions

12. Spencer, Geoff, (2011) A History of Dagnall Village. eBook, ASIN: B004Q3RKHS

13. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007

14. https://www.ancestry.co.uk National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) 1858 – 1995

15. Little Gaddesden Burial Register

Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at war-remembrance@littlegaddesdenchurch.org.uk.

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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson