The Following Biography is the Work of Carol Hunter
Evelyn Fairfax Meadows Frost
Evelyn was born in 1878 in Claughton, Birkenhead and came from privileged background (family details follow below). He attended school in Birkenhead and then studied engineering at Liverpool University, before serving his apprenticeship at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead. He then moved to John Brown & Company, shipbuilders in Clydebank, before becoming Manager of a Rubber Estate in the Federated Malay States, now Malaysia. In 1907 he obtained a 2nd Lieutenancy in the 5th Highland Light Infantry, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1908 and having passed his Musketry, Maxim Gun and Signalling courses he was promoted to Captain in 1913.
When war broke out in August 1914 he reported to Singapore where he acted as Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General. Whilst there he would have witnessed the Singapore (or Sepoy, named after the Indian soldiers) Mutiny in February 1915 when 815 men of the Indian Army’s 5th Light Infantry Battalion with 100 men of the Malay States Guides Mule Battery broke out of the barracks. The unrest lasted for nearly a week and ended with the death of 47 British soldiers and local civilians. Court martials followed and 47 mutineers were later executed by firing squad; 73 more were given long prison sentences and those who surrendered early were sent to fight in Africa against Von Lettow Vorbeck.
Later in 1915 Evelyn returned home to rejoin he regiment and went to Gallipoli on 5th November, as part of the 1/5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion of the Territorial Force. His battalion sailed from Devonport for Gallipoli on 26th May 1915, going via Egypt (5th-28th June) and Mudros (1st July), landing at Cape Helles on 3rd July. Sadly he died aged 37 in Helles Point Hospital on 20th December 1915 from wounds he received in action the previous day. He is buried in Lancashire Landing Cemetery in Turkey. His probate record tells us that he died at the 17th stationary hospital and that he left £1950 16s 10d (approx. £84,000 today).
Of his death, his commanding officer, Colonel Morrison, C.B wrote:
“His death was a splendidly honourable one. On 19 Dec. he was shot down, we think by fire of a machine gun, while leading his company to the assault of an enemy trench which the regiment had been ordered to capture, and eventually did capture, at terrible cost. I actually saw him fall and then crawl painfully back to where his men were hesitating to cross the fire-swept zone. Though hit in several places, he urged them forward and continued to cheer them on until he fainted through weakness and exhaustion.”
The Gallipoli campaign is most well known for the terrible losses suffered, especially by The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Kitchener recommended the evacuation of the peninsula and the last ANZACs were withdrawn before dawn on 20 December 1915, the day of Evelyn’s death. Due to severe casualties, not only from combat but also from disease and harsh weather, the 1/5th Battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli on 8th January 1916 to Mudros and arrived in Egypt in February.
Evelyn was awarded the Star, War and Victory Medals. These were affectionately known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred when awarded together and were always worn in the following formation:
Pip, Squeak and Wilfred were characters from a popular comic strip, which first appeared in the Daily Mirror on 12th May 1919.
Evelyn’s father was clearly very proud of him and, as we can see on his medal card, it was he who applied for his son’s Star. He also paid for a brass memorial tablet to be erected in St Bridget’s Church, West Kirby. It is located beneath the windows in the west wall of the north transept.
Evelyn is also remembered on the Ipoh War Memorial, Perak, Malaysia (located outside the railway station)
As with all the men I am researching I like to provide a little information about their families. In the case of Evelyn this is rather extensive, hence placing it here rather than before Evelyn’s military life.
Evelyn was born in 1878 and was baptized on 5th June at St Saviour’s, Oxton. He was the 3rd child of Meadows Arnold Frost and Rosalie Croshaw Russell and his siblings were Meadows (bap 24th June 1875 at St John’s, Chester), Rosalie Meadows (bap 20 Sept 1876 at St John the Divine, Frankby) and Geoffrey Meadows (bap 27th April 1880 at St Saviour’s). Meadows Arnold Frost and Rosalie Croshaw Russell were married on 25th May 1874 at St Stephen the Martyr, Camden.
Evelyn’s father Meadows Arnold Frost was the 3rd child of Meadows Frost (born in Chester, his father Francis Aylmer was a miller) and Matilda Berend (born in Liverpool, her father Samuel was a dentist from Hanover). He was baptized on 21st September 1848 at the Unitarian Chapel, Crooke Street, Chester. Interestingly he was rebaptised on 4th April 1874 at Primrose Hill in Cambden, by John Fuller Russell, rector of Greenhithe and his future father-in-law.
In 1851 Meadows is living at 59 Bold St, Liverpool with his parents (his father is now a corn merchant), his maternal grandfather and his siblings Eleanor Matilda b1843 and Frances Amy b1845 Chester. In 1861 we find Meadows as a scholar at Parkgate Road Training College, outside Chester; I have been unable to locate the rest of his family and wonder if they were overseas.
In 1871 the family is living at Meadows Lea, Hope, Flintshire. Meadows senior is described as a magistrate, alderman and American merchant and Meadows junior is also an American merchant. His sisters Eleanor and Frances do not have a profession, presumably as they were a rich family and had no need to send the girls to work. The family has 7 live-in servants: a domestic, 3 housemaids, a kitchen maid and 2 grooms.
In 1881 Meadows and Matilda are living at St John’s House, 8 Little St John St, Chester, with their daughter Eleanor. Meadows is described as a magistrate and retired cotton merchant; there are also 6 servants listed in the house. Meadows died at Meadows Lea on 20th January 1883; he left £39,931 2s 5d (which converts to approximately £1,900,000 today) and probate was granted to his 2 sons Meadows Arnold (of 18 Devonshire Place, Claughton) and Francis Alymer (of Meadows Lea – this is the first we learn of Francis, who was born in 1856). Matilda died very soon afterwards on 1st June 1883 at St John’s House; probate was granted to her son Meadows of 35 Grosvenor Road, Birkenhead. We can assume that after his father’s death Meadows used his share of the estate to move to a larger house.
Evelyn’s mother Rosalie Croshaw Elizabeth Russell was the 3rd child of Reverend John Fuller Russell and Rosalie Croshaw. She was baptized on 28th October 1852 at St James in Enfield. Her siblings were John CT b1846, Edward Meadows b1850 and Emma Louise b1855. In 1861 they were living at Cliff House in Swancombe and in 1871 at 4 Ormonde Terrace, Regent’s Park, Marylebone. Rosalie died on 4th March 1883, quickly followed by her husband Reverend Russell who died on 6th April 1884 and left £14,767 9s 2d. Evelyn’s aunt Emma Russell married his uncle Francis Frost in 1885. In 1891 they were living in Audlem, Cheshire where he was a clerk in Holy Orders and JP for County Flint. Francis died on 2nd April 1897 and his probate record states that he was living at the Rectory in Thurstaston.
In 1881 we find 2 year old Evelyn living at 18 Devonshire Place, Claughton with his parents, Meadows and Rosalie, and his 3 siblings Meadows, Rosalie and Geoffrey. His father is a cotton merchant and clearly doing quite well for himself as he is employing 4 servants; nurse, cook, housemaid and under-nurse. In 1891 the family is living at 35 Grosvenor Road, Claughton and employs a butler, cook and 2 housemaids. Meadows junior is not listed, however he went on to a military career and was perhaps training away from home.
In 1901 Evelyn, a mechanical engineer, and his sister Rosalie are living at Hill House, Rocky Lane, Heswall with their parents. As we know in 1907 Evelyn was already working for the military so it is no surprise that in 1911 only Rosalie is living at home at Stonyhurst, Oatlands, West Kirby; Meadows is now described as a cotton merchant and corn broker. The family had been living there for at least 5 years as in 1906 Magistrate Meadows gives this as his address.
Probate records provide valuable information as to what happened to Evelyn’s family after 1911. His father Meadows died on 3rd Nov 1931 and his mother Rosalie on 13th April 1937, leaving £4466 11s 1d and £448 5s 9d respectively; both were still living at Stonyhurst and we learn that Evelyn’s brother Meadows was retired from the Colonial civil service. Meadows, of Dial House, Seend near Melksham, Wiltshire died on 28th August 1954, probate being granted to Catherine (née Fulton Carver), his widow. Catherine’s own probate record shows that she died on 16th September1958, with probate granted to her son Meadows Frost, gardener, and daughter Mita Easton.
Their brother Geoffrey Meadows Frost, of Pine Tree, Roselyon School, Cornwall, died on 6 June 1962 and probate was granted to his son Richard Meadows Frost, solicitor. On 11th January 1911, at St Bridget’s in West Kirby, Geoffrey married Dorothy Louise King, sister of the Thacker King Brothers who also appear on the West Kirby Memorial.
Both Meadows and Geoffrey were Civil Servants in Malaysia and held various posts as Resident Councillor and District Officer in Penang, Kinta and Malaca. Frost Road in Batu Gajah is named after one of them, but there are conflicting accounts as to which brother, or perhaps it was both.
Birth: c.1878, baptised 5th June 1878 at St.Saviour’s Oxton
Death: 20th December 1915, died of wounds aged 37
Addresses: 18 Devonshire Place, Claughton (81), 35 Grosvenor Road, Claughton (91), Malaysia (14)
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer, Ship Building Engineer, Manager of a Rubber Estate in Malaysia and Professional Soldier
Unit: 1st/5th Bn. Highland Light Infantry
Number and Rank: Captain
Medals: 1914 Star, British War and Victory
Commemorated and Buried: GH, WK, St. Bridget’s Church Yard; Turkey: Lancashire Landing Cemetery; Malaysia: Ipoh Memorial
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, DA, BN, WKN, Census: 51,61, 71, 81, 91, 01, 11; Online BMD records on Ancestry.co.uk and Familysearch, Online Parish registers, De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919; Ipoh Memorial Index; Independent Article about the 1915 Singapore Mutiny; Forces War Records;