The PRENTICE family – Gunner PRENTICE, Frank Douglas (1898-1962)

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Frank Douglas Prentice

Thomas Haddon Prentice (1857-1932) and Catherine Elliott (1859-1929) married at Shearsby Church in 1882.  Both lived in the village.  By 1891 Thomas Haddon was manager of a fancy hosiery warehouse, then went into partnership with a Mary Ann Jones, styled as “J S Rice & Co.” hosiery manufacturers at Newarke Street.  This partnership dissolved in December 1898 and by 1901 Thomas was working for himself as a fancy hosiery & wool manufacturer.  Thomas and Catherine spent their whole married life living at 53 Princess Road, where they had six children:  Harold William Warden (1886-1957); Tom Noel Richard (1888-1966); Dorothy Margaret (1889-1971); Kate Mary (1893-1971), Frank Douglas (1898-1962) and Thomas Haddon (1906-2001).  Thomas Haddon Prentice senior was a Freemason belonging to Provincial Grand Lodge 279 (St John’s) before 1927.

Frank Douglas Prentice was born in Leicester on 21st September and baptised at St Martin’s on 14th December 1898.  The family had very close links with the church and parish.  Thomas Haddon Prentice’s father had been churchwarden during the 1880s.  Thomas himself was sidesman 1882-1887 and then churchwarden 1887-1890 and finally deputy churchwarden.  Catherine contributed to fundraising activities.  Dorothy Margaret and brother Harold William Warden Prentice were both married at St Martin’s in 1910 and 1911 respectively.

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Chesterfield Grammar School

Frank attended Wyggeston School and then Chesterfield Grammar School in Derbyshire for a short time, after sitting an entrance exam on 1st April 1913.  After leaving school Frank worked as a hosiery warehouseman, probably for his father.  He enlisted on 15th October 1915, giving his age as 19 years and 24 days, although in reality he was only aged 17 – during his war service Frank grew from 5’9” to six feet. He joined the 147th (Leicester) Heavy Battalion Royal Garrison Artillery as Gunner 295008, serving at home until 29th June 1916 and then overseas as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

On 23rd Oct 1917 Frank was admitted to Southern General Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, suffering from a shell wound which penetrated the abdomen and perforated his intestines.  The injury had occurred on 16th October was deemed to have caused 35% disablement.  He was discharged on 28th February 1918, declared “Permanently Unfit for any kind of service” and awarded a pension during his recovery.  Frank was left with a 10 inch long scar and ongoing tenderness in his abdomen.  Frank was described as “a sober and hard working man.  Discharged on account of wounds.”  He was issued a Silver War Badge and returned to live with his parents at 53 Princess Road,

Frank lived with his parents until his marriage to Doris Hunter Goodacre (1891-1972) at Leicester Registry Office in 1925.  Frank was Doris’s second husband – she had first married William Lawrence Keites in November 1914 but they divorced.  Frank and Doris had twins who were born before their marriage, early in 1923 – Robert Adair Goodacre (1923-1995) and Thomas A E Goodacre (1923-).  By 1928 the family lived at 5 Turner Street.

Meanwhile – and astonishingly, given the injuries he received during the war – Frank played rugby for Leicester Tigers, won 3 caps for England, was captain of the Lions in their tour of new Zealand and Australia in 1930 and manager of the 1936 lions tour to Argentina. Prentice2

He also worked for J S Rice & Co (Manufacturer of infants’ fancy woollen goods) at Newarke Street with the factory situated around the corner from St Martin’s at 13 Marble St, where he was a director alongside brother Harold.  Frank and Harold had had inherited the business from their father in 1932.  However, Frank’s rugby duties took him away from Leicester much more frequently by the late 1930s, so by 1938 the family were living at Langland Mansions, 3 Finchley Road, Camden.

In 1937 Frank’s abdominal injuries caused him to be seriously ill.  He was operated on in a private hospital in Leicester and made a full recovery, though he never played rugby again.  In 1947 Frank was appointed secretary of the Rugby Football Union.  He was the England Selector.

Frank died at Paddington General Hospital on 3rd October 1962 whilst – appropriately – living in Twickenham.

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