Frank (also known as Frederick) Winterflood was born and brought up in Chelmsford. He served in the army before 1896, again between 1896 and 1898, and once more from 1901 when he saw service in the South African War. He married in 1904, had two children and worked as a fishmonger. He left the army once more and joined up again at the outset of the war. Concussed by a horse’s kick in April 1915, he recovered in England, and then went back to France. However, his health was broken and in January 1918 he was discharged from the army. He died in October 1919.
Frank was born on 27th June 1877 in Chelmsford, the son of (George) Thomas Winterflood and Joanna Clark Winterflood (nee Perkins). Frank’s father had been born in 1840 in Chelmsford; his mother c1842 in Little Baddow). The couple had married on 27th February 1860 at Little Baddow. At the time Frank’s father was aged 19 and employed as a leather draper. His mother was 18 years old, and like her groom was living in Little Baddow. Later, they were recorded living in Hope Square, Chelmsford in both the 1861 and 1871 censuses.
Frank’s siblings, all Chelmsford-born, except the eldest included Annie Winterflood (born in 1864 in Writtle, died in 1948) Joseph Winterflood (1869-1959), Eliza Winterflood (born in 1872) ,Daniel Winterflood (1875-1952), Millie Winterflood (born c1884), and Thomas Charles Winterflood (1887-1974).
The 1881 census recorded Frank living with his parents and four siblings at Lower Primrose Hill, Chelmsford. At the time Frank’s father was a fishmonger’s labourer.
A decade later the next census found Frank, his parents and three siblings at 29 Rainsford Road, Chelmsford. Frank was a post errand boy while his father was a fish hawker. His father died later in 1891, aged 51; while his mother followed, in 1896, aged 55.
Prior to 1896 Frank served with the 4th Battalion of the Essex Regiment and purchased his discharge.
On 15th September 1896, aged 19 years and two months and employed as a hawker, Frank enlisted as Private 4483 in 19th Hussars. On 1st November the following year he was transferred to the 20th Hussars as Private 4274. On his way to India he was found not to be fit to serve and was transferred again to the 7th Hussars as 4375 on 16th December 1897. Following medical inspection, he was found to have a disordered function of the heart and was discharged as medically unfit on 19th January 1898. This was the first sign of ill-health which was to appear over his later military career. At the time his next of kin was his elder brother, Joseph Winterflood, of 6 The Grove, West Ham..
On 25th January 1901, when aged 23 years and six months and once again employed as a hawker, Frank enlisted into the Imperial Yeomanry in Chelmsford. He was described at the time as five feet seven inches tall, weighed 142 pounds and had a chest of 34 and a half inches. He had a medium complexion, brown eyes and ‘medium’ hair. He was a member of the Church of England. Frank bore a tattoo of Hussar and gravestone on his right arm. His next of kin was his sister Annie Ireland of 4 Primrose Hill, Chelmsford.
Frank served as Trooper 20608 in the Imperial Yeomanry’s 44th Company, also known as the Suffolk Hussars Company, and was in South Africa from 16th February 1901 to 4th August 1902. The 44th Company was part of the Imperial Yeomanry’s 12th Battalion.
Soon after his return to England Frank was discharged, on 11th August 1902 at Aldershot in Hampshire. His conduct and character were described as good and he intended to reside at Primrose Hill. For his time in South African campaign he was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, and South Africa 1902.
Back in England Frank married Sarah Ann Powell at St. Mary’s Church, (today’s Cathedral) Chelmsford on 9th January 1904. At the time he was a fishmonger living at 6 Primrose Hill. His bride was the 21 year-old daughter of George Powell, a railway shunter, who lived at Meadowside, Chelmsford. The couple went on to have at least two children; Vera Ronnie Winterflood (born on 24th October 1904 in Chelmsford and christened at Holy Trinity Church in Springfield on 14th January 1905) and Dereck Frank Winterflood (born on 14th January 1911 in Manningtree).
In 1911 the family were resident in South Street in Manningtree, where Frank was a 33 year-old fishmonger. His Lawford-born wife assisted him in the business.
As an ex-soldier Frank chose to rejoin the army shortly after the outbreak of the war. On 17th August 1914, aged 35 and still employed as a fishmonger, he attested at Colchester for Short Service (Three years with the colours). At the time he was described as five feet seven and a quarter inches tall, weighed 139 pounds and had a chest of 35 and a half inches. He had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and hair, and was a member of the Church of England.
WINTERFLOOD, FRANK aka FREDERICK,
Trooper, 11th Battalion, (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars (formerly of the Essex Regiment)
Frank subsequently served as Private 12306 and H/12216 in the cavalry regiment, the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars. After 86 days back in the army he landed in France on 11th November 1914.
On 13th April 1915 Frank was in charge of a horse at Rouen in France which reared its head and dealt him a blow on his forehead causing concussion, and unconsciousness for four hours. On 16th April 1915 he was admitted to Number 9 General Hospital in Rouen for treatment.
He was transferred to England, sent to the Derby Royal Infirmary for further treatment (and coincidentally posted to the Irish Cavalry Depot) on 1st May 1915, and then to the 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment on 16th June 1915. In July 1915 a doctor at the Military Hospital at Colchester examined Frank and reported that his general condition was good, he had pains in his head and complained of giddiness. His heart was also enlarged. Despite this Frank was not discharged. He appeared before another medical board on 25th February 1916 in Aldershot, Hampshire and was classified as Category C(ii).
After just over a year in England Frank returned to France and was posted back to the 11th Hussars on 14th June 1916. On 11th November 1916 an unwell Frank was admitted to the 13th Casualty Clearing Station. Four days later he was at Number 5 General Hospital, before being transferred back to England on the eight thousand tonne Hospital Ship ‘Gloucester Castle’. This further period back ‘at Home’ saw Frank formally posted at the Irish Cavalry Depot on 19th November 1916 (when he was probably sent to an English hospital), then to the 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment on 5th December 1916, and the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment on 23rd February 1917.
Frank returned to France via Southampton to the Number 5 Base Depot Rouen on 24th April 1917. After spending time in June and July 1917 in hospital he was diagnosed as suffering from the psychological condition neuroasthenia and was sent back to England to the 1st Birmingham War Hospital at Rednal on 12th August 1917. The condition was characterized by chronic fatigue and weakness, loss of memory, and generalized aches and pains and thought to result from exhaustion of the nervous system. The following day he was moved to Tardebigge Auxiliary Hospital, where he stayed for 21 days.
Upon release he went to the Number 3 Cavalry Depot, followed by the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment on 26th September 1917, but his health broke down once again with a further bout of neuroasthenia - experiencing visual symptoms, headaches and insomnia. He was admitted to the Connaught Hospital in Aldershot, Hampshire on 2nd October 1917 where he improved considerably with rest, but doctor’s reached the conclusion that he should be recommended for discharge.
Frank attended a medical on 18th December 1917. A report described his condition:
“Complains of insomnia and startled by sudden noises. occipital headaches, severe at times. Pricking pains in knees. Palpitation on excitement. Pain in chest. Depressed at times.”
The board determined that his condition had been caused by war service, presumably starting with his 1915 injury in Rouen, and declared that he was no physically longer fit for war service. Consequently he was discharged from the army on 8th January 1918 having served for 3 years and 145 days. His address on discharge was 50 Berwick Road, Custom House. He was granted a 40% pension for an initial six months.
Frank returned to a further medical board on 20th December 1918 which heard that he had been forced to give up work in October 1918 as he could not stand the noise of machinery. Frank’s health continued to decline and he succumbed to neuroasthenia on 9th October 1919 at Custom House. He was 40.
The Essex County Chronicle of 17th October 1919 carried the following death notice:
“Winterflood- In loving memory of Frank, who departed this life Oct. 9th, 1919. ‘When the day breaks and the shadows flee away’.”
A further report in the paper stated:
“Death of an ex-Yeoman - We regret to record the death of Mr. Frank Winterflood, a well-known tradesman of Manningtree and Custom House, and formerly of Chelmsford, which occurred on Oct. 9., at Custom House, after a long illness from neuroasthenia. Deceased, who was 44 [sic] years of age, and was popular by reason of his cheery optimism, served in the South African War with the Essex Yeomanry [sic], and on the outbreak of the European crisis he could not resist the call to arms and re-enlisted, serving with 11th Hussars in France until discharged on medical grounds on Dec. 26, 1917. He leaves a wife and two children. The funeral took place yesterday at West Ham Cemetery.”
Frank is buried at West Ham Cemetery (and commeorated on the Screen Wall, Panel 5. Soldiers Circle 125506) and is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.
Acknowledgements to Ian Miller