Private Frank Thame, Hertfordshire Yeomanry; 231632 Dorset Yeomanry
Born on 24th December 1883 in Ringshall
Died on 27th June 1971 in St Paul’s Hospital, Hemel Hempstead
Frank Thame was born in Ringshall, Buckinghamshire, the youngest son of Thomas Thame and his third wife Mary Janes. His full Christian name was Francis and the family’s surname was sometimes spelt Tame.
Frank had three older siblings: Thomas, born in 1874, Emily, born in 1876 and Walter Charles, born in 1880. He also had two step-brothers Joseph Janes, born in 1864 and George Janes, born in 1871. Census returns show that Joseph and George lived with the family in Ringshall.
The 1891 Census shows the family living at 8 Ringshall, which was later re-numbered 28 Ringshall. 75 year old Thomas (Senior) was a Gardener’s Labourer, while Mary, 56, was at home. Thomas (Junior), 17, was a Farm Labourer while Walter, 11 and Francis, 7 were then at school. Joseph Janes, 27, was a Farm Labourer and George Janes, 20, a Bricklayer’s Labourer.
Frank’s father Thomas Thame or Tame was born in 1815. On Christmas Day 1839 he married Mary Rogers and they had 4 children named in Census returns: George, born in 1841, Catherine, born in 1844, David, born in 1845 and Ann, born in 1849. However, Mary died in 1850 and was buried at Edlesborough on 4th October that year.
Then, on 26th February 1851, Thomas married Hannah Mead at Edlesborough. Hannah’s sons Alfred Mead and David Mead are named on their 1851 Census return. Thomas and Hannah then had a son Jesse, born in 1851, who is named on their 1861 Census.
However, in the 1871 Census, Thomas is shown as a widower. Then, in 1875, he married Frank’s mother Mary Janes. Thomas died aged 78 in 1893 and was buried in Little Gaddesden on 2nd September. Frank, his youngest son, was then 9 years old.
Francis Thame attended Little Gaddesden School. On 5th April 1895, Francis, Samuel Oakins and Walter Holland were among the 6 children who had passed Standard 4 and could therefore have a Certificate of Proficiency, which enabled them to leave school and go to work. Frank, aged 11 years 4 months, then left school on 9th April 1895.
The 1901 Census shows Francis Thame working as a 17 year old Domestic Stable Boy and his brother Charles, 21, as a Domestic Coachman. They lived at 28 Ringshall, the cottage which had been numbered 8 Ringshall in 1891. The other residents were their mother Mary and their step brother Joseph Janes, 35, a General Farm Labourer, who is recorded as Head of the household.
On 24th December 1910, Francis Thame married Marie Louise Winzenried at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. Francis, 27, was by then a Groom, living at 28 Ringshall. Marie Louise, 25, lived at 20 Lymington Road, London NW and was the daughter of Theophile Winzenried, Engineer.
The Census of 2nd April 1911 shows Francis and Marie Louise living at 28 Ringshall with Francis’ mother Mary. It also records that Marie Louise was a Swiss citizen born in Paris, France.
Their daughter Frances Louise Mary Thame was born on 16th July 1912 and baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 6th October that year. In the Baptism Register, Frank, of 28 Ringshall, was recorded as a Stableman.
Their second daughter Madeline Florence Emily Thame was then born on 21st January 1916 and baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 12th March 1916. However, in that entry Frank is recorded as a Trooper and their address as “Little Gaddesden”.
Frank and Marie Louise’s third daughter Ivy Emma Thame was born on 25th May 1918 and baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 30th June 1918. Their address is recorded as 59 Little Gaddesden and Frank’s occupation as a Groom.
Very little is known about Frank’s War Service. He has no medal records, which suggests that he served entirely in the United Kingdom. The original Little Gaddesden Roll of Honour lists him in the Herts Yeomanry, which would fit with his civilian occupations of Stableman and Groom and his residence in Little Gaddesden. However, no record of his service in that unit has been found. The only records found for him are Autumn 1918 and Spring 1919 Absent Voters’ list entries, which show Francis Thame of 59 Little Gaddesden serving as a Private in the 2/1st Dorset Yeomanry, Service Number 231632.
The 2/1st Battalion of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry was formed in September 1914. It remained in UK until in July 1916, when it was converted into a Cyclist unit. However, four months later in November 1916, it took over the horses from the 2/1st West Kent Yeomanry and became a mounted battalion again. In September 1917 the battalion was again converted to a Cyclist unit and, in early 1918, they moved to Ireland.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Frank Thame is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. On the original Roll, his regiment is listed as the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. However, on the 2018 Centenary Revision of the Roll, his service in the Dorset Yeomanry is added.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
Returning to Little Gaddesden 14
By Autumn 1919, Frank had been demobilised and returned to 59 Little Gaddesden. However, over the next few years, Electoral Register entries show that they moved several times:
- Spring 1920 to Spring 1921: 24 Ringshall
- Autumn 1921 to Spring 1922: 3 Little Gaddesden
- Summer 1922 to 1929: 32 Ringshall
On 28th May 1922 Frank and Marie Louise’s son Cyril Francis Thame was born. He was baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 28th May that year. Frank’s occupation was then a Coal Carter and the family had moved to 32 Ringshall, where they stayed until 1929.
In 1930, Frank and his family are shown at 25 Ringshall and, by September 1939, they had moved to Sunnymeade, Chesham Road, Berkhamsted. Frank was then a Wood Machinist while Marie Louise had “Unpaid Domestic Duties”. Frances was a Shorthand Typist while Madeline had Domestic Duties and was a Cinema Attendant. Four other entries, probably including those for Ivy and Cyril, remain closed.
Frank and Marie Louise continued to live at Sunnymead, Chesham Road Berkhamsted. However, Marie Louise died aged 84 in the 2nd Quarter of 1970 and Francis Thame aged 87 on 27th June 1971.
7. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1893
8. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
9. Little Gaddesden Marriage Register 1910
10. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
12. 1918-19 Absent Voters’ Lists Parliamentary County of Hertford, Hemel Hempstead Division, Little Gaddesden
15. Copy of the Death Certificate of Francis Thame
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson