Francis (‘Frank’) Hyde Ward was a son of a jeweller of Bridge Street, Evesham, who attended Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Evesham and, from May 1911, the Royal Grammar School, Worcester. He left the latter in 1913 to follow a career in engineering in Birmingham. He was in the Officer Training Corps whilst at the Worcester school. His obituary in the Evesham Journal of 17th June 1944 states that he served in the Great War, “chiefly with in the South Staffordshire Regt in Ireland and in France”.
He enlisted in Evesham in December 1914 and was posted to the Army Service Corps (No. 141128). Some A.S.C. units were allocated to specific Battalions and it would seem as if his was with a South Staffordshire battalion. His military records do not seem to have survived but the postings mentioned in his obituary would appear to place him in support of the 2/5th Battalion which was raised in September 1914 in Walsall and went to Ireland during 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. Here it was involved in the massacre of North King Street on 28th April, when 15 men were bayoneted or shot in a series of house clearances.
This battalion landed at Le Havre, France on 25th February 1917 and was finally disbanded on 30th January 1918, when Frank Ward would have been posted to another unit. In the Evesham ‘Absent Voters List’ for 1919, Pte Francis Hyde Ward (No. M2/012903), of 12 Princess Road, is down as being in 6th Mechanical Transport section of the Army Service Corps (‘6MT A.S.C.’).
The fact that he was only a Private when in the A.S.C. in 1919 may indicate that he spent the whole War at this rank. At his brother’s funeral in February 1915 he was mentioned as “Driver F. H. Ward”, which would be correct for his service number type in 1919.
After the War, he married Constance Nina May Brett, in Loughborough in 1924, and by 1926 was living in Wickhamford, where they had a son, Frank Allen Ward, baptised in the church. At that time his occupation was given as ‘Commercial Traveller’. He was employed by Messrs W.J. Craven & Co. Ltd, horticultural chemists, as a representative and technical advisor. At the time of his death, in 1944, he was living at Oxstalls Farm, Blayneys Lane, Evesham and an A.R.P. warden. He had been significantly involved with the British Legion and Toc H. At his funeral his coffin was draped with a Union Jack used in France in 1918. Although cremated, there is an inscription on to him on the grave of one of his brothers (Leslie John Ward, died 1915) in Waterside Cemetery, Evesham.