Frank Bernard Kelsey was born on 9 March 1894 at 1 Hearns Buildings, Walworth, London.
His parents were Samuel and Mary Ann Martha Elizabeth Kelsey (née Tarrey). Samuel was a ‘Commercial Clerk’.
He was the 9th child, 4th son: Mary, Emily, Samuel, Georgina Beatrice ‘Beat’, Martha, Frances ‘Fan’, George, James Moore, Frank Bernard, Constance Edith ‘Con’, Thomas Guy Pemberton ‘Pem’, Percy and Ella Louise Charlotte.
In the 1901 Census Frank was aged 7 years and living at 13 St Peter’s Road, Edmonton, Middlesex. By the 1911 Census, his parents and six children including Frank, aged 17 years, had moved to 58 Parkestone Road, Walthalmstow, London. His occupation in the census was listed as an ‘Apprentice Compositor’.
Some time after 1911 Frank, his parents and brother ‘Pem’, came to Tadley where his father purchased land and/or a cottage in Newtown. It is not known how many other children also came at that time. His father had formerly been employed as a Dock Clerk by the Port of London Authority. He retired with a pension which enabled them to leave London. Their eldest daughter Mary was married to James Marshall, who was born in Brimpton. This may have influenced their choice when relocating. In addition to their home, ‘Oak Cottage’, they also owned a much smaller dwelling in Newtown. This is believed to have been named ‘Frankbern’ in memory of their son. ‘Oak Cottage’ was originally called ‘George Cottage’ in memory of another son who had died in 1910.
Frank was unmarried.
After enlisting in London, Frank served in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) (service number 10884). At some point he transferred from the RFC and at the time of his death he was serving as a lance corporal in the 7th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment (service number 42094).
The 7th Battalion was formed at Lincoln in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Army and came under the command of the 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. It was part of the 3rd Army under General Julian Byng. On 14 July 1915 it landed at Boulogne.
Frank died during Operation Michael (21 March – 5 April 1918), the German spring offensive in 1918. At the time of his death the battalion was in action at the Battle of St Quentin, also known as the Battle of the Canal du Nord. Allied casualties (dead, wounded and captured) during Operation Michael numbered 254,739.
Frank was killed in action on Saturday 23 March 1918, aged 24.
He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial [Bay 3 and 4], Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Pas de Calais, France.
He is also remembered on Tadley War Memorial and the Tadley United Reformed Church Roll of Honour.
Frank was awarded the Victory medal and the British War medal. These would have been sent to his family.