The WAITE family – 2nd Lieutenant WAITE, Frederick Maxwell “Max” 1895-1915 and Captain WAITE, Norman Simpson (1894-1943)

Frederick Warwick Waite (1860-1935) and Jane Simpson (1862-1945) married at Salem Chapel, Halifax in May 1892.  Their only children were Norman Simpson born (1894-1943) and Frederick Maxwell (1895-1915), known as “Max”.  Frederick senior was a bank manager at the Stamford Spalding & Boston Banking Co, 20 High Street Market Harborough.  The family lived at Little Bowden.  Between 1904 and 1911 Frederick Warwick became manager of the Gallowtree Gate branch of Barclay & Co Ltd and the family moved to The Spinneys, Manor Road, Oadby.  Mr and Mrs Waite were active members of the St Martin’s congregation.  Mrs Waite helped with the St Martin’s stall at the Mayor’s Bazaar in 1917.

frederick_waite (PG)
Frederick Maxwell Waite

Known as “Max”, Frederick Maxwell Waite was born on 4th May 1895 and baptised at Little Bowden on 3rd November 1895.  He attended Stoneygate College until 1909.  Between 1909 and 1912 Max attended Oundle School, where he boarded, was a member of Grafton House, and a keen member of the OTC.  He was reputed to be a good shot and oarsman and played golf and tennis.  He also won a swimming race and half mile running race.  After leaving school Frederick Maxwell, known as “Max”, was articled to Messrs Hopps and Bankart, Chartered Accountants, whose office was in Friar Lane.  He served as sidesman at St Martin’s.


Max joined the army in August 1914, receiving his commission as second lieutenant in the 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment on 11th August.  He left Bishop’s Stortford with his battalion by train at 9.40 on 27th February 1915, landing at Le Havre at 4.30am on 5th March 1915.  Max left Gare des Merchandises at 10.30, arriving at Cassel with 27 other officers, over 800 men, 72 horses and nine tricycles.  Max was in charge of the wagon loading party.  Frederick often worked with fellow St Martin’s man John Frederick Johnson.

Max billeted at a brewery near the station.  Notice of advance was expected at any moment and the battalion was expected to be ready to move with one hour’s notice.  Max was killed by a wound through the head (over his eye) at 9.15pm on 6th June “when standing at south end of [trench] facing north west”.  He died the following day, three days after his 20th birthday.  The battalion war diary records “at 2am…..between Rist and Lindenhoek Dressing Station…v quiet night….misty morning and no wind.”   He was buried at Packhorse Shrine Cemetery (one of the last to be buried there – the cemetery only contains 59 First World War burials and was used April –June 1915).  Effects of £39 10s 9d were sent to his father.  An Officer wrote; “He was always cheerful and was a real leader of men; he did not know what fear was; always a soldier and a gentleman, and beloved by all about him, ready for work or fun, each in its own place. His men would do anything for him, and would follow him anywhere.”

The Leicester Mercury printed an obituary on 10th June 1915: “DEATH OF LIEUTENANT MAX WAITE Much regret will be occasioned by the news just received in Leicester of the death at the front of Lieutenant Max Waite, a son of Mr F W Waite, manager of the local branch of Barclay’s Bank.  Lieutenant Waite was attached to the 4th Leicesters, and joined the Army at the beginning of the war.  He was very popular among a wide circle of friends, and his untimely death will be much deplored.  A brother of the deceased officer is also a lieutenant in the Leicesters, and is reported to be under orders to proceed abroad.

Waite 2Frederick’s medals were dispatched to his parents in July 1922.  He was commemorated at St Mary Magdalen Church, Knighton and on Oadby memorial.  A memorial was added to his parents’ grave memorial cross at Welford Road Cemetery which reads:

Frederick Maxwell/2nd Lieut, 4th Leicesters/Second son of FREDERICK WAITE/Killed in action, France 1915

He is also commemorated at Oundle School.

Oundle school memorial - CREDIT
Oundle School memorial: With thanks to Oundle School

Norman Simpson Waite was born on 6th March 1894.  He attended Stoneygate College and Oundle School, where he boarded like his brother Max.  After leaving school Norman joined the staff of Messrs T Roberts & Sons, shoemakers, The Newarke.  When war came Norman joined up and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 2/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 26th September 1914, along with Sam Pilkington who was made lieutenant the same day.  The 2/4th moved in January 1915 to Luton and by July 1915 at St Albans.  Norman was promoted Lieutenant in April 2015.

Frederick Warwick, Norman & Jane Waite (PG)
Norman Simpson Waite as an infant, with his parents

In April 1916 the battalion moved to Ireland, returning in January 1917.  They left Southampton on 24th February 1917 and arrived at Le Havre in the early hours of the 25th.  On 4th May he assumed command of C Company.  On 20th May he returned to England for a fortnight’s leave, returning to the Front in June as a Captain.  On 24th September the battalion moved from Poperinghe up to Ypres north sector and Norman led his company in the first wave of an attack – “the first of the German prisoners began to come in and many were seen to be helping our own wounded along to the dressing station.”  A number of officers and over 70 men were killed. On the morning of 30th November enemy bombardment was so heavy that the battalion sent out an SOS signal.  In January 1918 Norman again went on leave, during a period where the rest of the battalion were training at Ligneroil. The battalion was reorganised into 4 platoons by absorbing a draft from the 2/5th Leicestershires in February, moving to Bullecourt by motor lorry on the 12th where more training took place, this time in defence and counter attack, and “quite good” games of football were enjoyed.

At the end of the war Norman returned to Leicester, where he lived at Mayfield, London Road. He married Kathleen Helen Wand (1897-1979) at St Mary de Castro on 15th June 1920.  Kathleen gave Norman a gold watch as a wedding gift.  According to the Leicester Journal, “a large and fashionable assemblage of guests” attended the wedding reception at Kathleen’s parents’ home before Norman and Kathleen departed for their honeymoon in Salcome, Devon.  Together they had two children: Maxwell Allan (1921-1992) and

Waite 134 Westcotes Drive
134 Westcotes Drive

Harry Warwick (1924-2010).  Norman and Kathleen moved into 134 Westcotes Drive, where they would remain until 1938.  Norman was a hosiery manufacturer working for Murdock & Co, whose factory was at 29 Newarke Street.  He made an application for his medals on 30th November 1924.  From around 1933 he was a hosiery agent and merchant on his own account at 371a Tudor Road – moving premises to Queens Buildings, Queen Street in 1940.

Norman, Kathleen and the children moved to Grey Lodge, Kirby Muxloe in 1938, remaining there until Norman’s death on 9th April 1943.  Norman had dropped dead in Halford Street aged 49.  He left £11,000 and was buried at Welford Road Cemetery, next to his mother Jane.  In 1949 Kathleen married again, to Ellis Charlesworth Johnson (1872-1952).  Ellis only lived for another five years.  Kathleen died in January 1979 and was buried with her first husband Norman at Welford Road, Ellis having been buried with his first wife.

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