Frank Edmund AMOS (1885-1970)
Frank Edmund Amos (1885-1970) was the Headmaster of Badsey Council School and is mentioned in a few of the letters written by the Sladden family.
Frank Edmund Amos was born on 17th June 1885 in Leicester, the youngest of four children and only son of Edmund Amos, a certified teacher, and his wife, Catherine. By 1891, they were living at 34 Albert Street, Digby, Brigg, Lincolnshire, where Frank’s father was described as an Organizing Secretary.
Frank did not initially go into teaching. At the time of the 1901 census he was described as an apprentice carpenter living with his parents in the School House at Little Dalby near Melton Mowbray. On deciding to embark on a teaching career, Frank obtained a post at a school in Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk. In January 1907 he was successful in gaining a post as Assistant Master at Badsey Council School. A teaching post had been rendered vacant as a result of the resignation of Miss Jean McDonald, the daughter of the Headmaster. Little did Frank realize at the time that, six years later, he would take over from Mr McDonald as Headmaster and that, seven years later, he would marry Jean McDonald.
Frank remained at Badsey until August 1910 when he resigned in order to attend Winchester Training College, where he was to be found at the time of the 1911 census. He then became Headmaster of Mora Road Council School, Cricklewood, London, from 1911-1913.
Early in 1913, John Henry McDonald, who had been Headmaster of Badsey School since 1894, resigned due to ill-health. There were 127 applications for the resulting vacancy and Frank was successful in being appointed, commencing work as Head of the Mixed Department from 1st April 1913 with a roll of 192 pupils and five staff.
On New Year’s Day 1914, Frank married fellow teacher, Jean McDonald McDonald, in a ceremony at Badsey Church. In a letter of 30th May 1914, Julius Sladden refers to Ethel Sladden inviting the Amoses for afternoon tea and for a game of tennis (there was a court at Pool House, just across the road).
Frank quickly began to stamp his mark on the ever-increasing school, but then the First World War intervened. In February 1915 he enlisted in Kitchener’s First 100,000 as Drill Instructor with the rank of corporal, leaving his sister-in-law, Miss Maggie McDonald, in charge. Juliet Sladden speculated in a letter of 14th February 1915 what on earth the school would do without Mr Amos.
Frank went to France with the 10th Worcesters, arriving on 19th July 1915. He saw active service at the Battle of Loos in 1915 and at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was wounded on the first day of the Somme battle and is mentioned in letters written by Mela Brown Constable on 6th July 1916 and 24th August 1916. In the former letter, Mela writes, “It is probable that he will lose the sight of his right eye – his neck and right should have wounds, and his right arm is simply peppered all over.”
As a result of his wounds at the Somme, Frank was discharged from the Army in February 1917 as physically unfit for further war service. He returned to a bitterly cold school and many children absent through illness or work on the land. From time to time he was absent because of a facial neuralgia caused by the wound in his head. Frank had lost the use of one eye; because his eye was still there but he could not see out of it, the children never knew if he was looking at them or not!
On 11th October 1919, Frank and Jean’s only child, Jean Margaret, was born at the School House.
Slowly, despite being so severely wounded, Frank began to pull things together again to make Badsey into a school which, during the following decades, was a flagship school for the county. He was given the opportunity on more than one occasion to go for promotion but he preferred to stay at Badsey.
Frank’s final years at Headmaster were perhaps the most difficult of his career with the outbreak of the Second World War coinciding with an enormous change in educational structure, which saw the older children moving to the new school at Blackminster. Frank and Jean retired together in October 1944 and were much missed by their many pupils, past and present.
In retirement, Frank and Jean moved firstly to Pine Cottage, Laverton, then to 24 Noverton Lane, Prestbury, Cheltenham, and then in about 1960 to Sunlea, Blacksmith Lane, Beckford.
Frank died at Evesham Hospital on 18th April 1970, aged 84. He was buried at Badsey three days later.