Frank’s father and grandfather were from Caldy, but Frank himself was not really considered to be a local lad. Frank was a butcher by trade, but his father and Scottish grandfather were gardeners.
Frank Monteath was born towards the end of 1882 in Oxton, Birkenhead, and was baptized on December 3rd 1882. Frank’s mother, Mary was born in Eccleston, Cheshire, in 1852, and it looks as if returning to her family home for the baptism was a celebration of the birth of their firstborn. Edwin Monteath, Frank’s father was born in West Kirby in 1855 and married Mary Baskerville by licence in Chester on 22 December 1881.
Frank’s grandfather, James Johnson Monteath, and his grandmother Ann Small, moved from St. Ninians, Stirlingshire, Scotland and married in Liverpool in 1845. James was a gardener and was employed by Richard Watson Barton at Caldy Manor. It is likely that he was properly trained in Scotland to be a professional gardener.
On the 1891 Census he states he is a Seedsman, and when his will was probated in 1892 he is shown to be a Seedsman and a Florist. Ann, his wife, died in 1863, leaving him with six children to raise: John, James, Thomas, Edwin, Louisa Esther and Richard, who was only 6 months. He did not remarry until 1875, when he and Janette Garside married in London by licence. He is referred to as James Johnson Monteath Esquire on the licence, and he was most likely very proud to be referred to as esquire. James Johnson Monteath died in West Kirby in1892 aged 77, leaving an estate of £164 2s. Janette died in 1897 aged 66 and they are buried at St. Bridget’s, West Kirby along with Ann, his first wife.
Edwin and Mary moved from Birkenhead at some time in the 1880s and by the 1891 census were living in Bollin Fee, near Wilmslow. Edwin was a gardener just like his father, had jobs in Chester and in Church, Lancashire, before settling down in Bollin Fee. Sadly, Mary died in September 1891 at the age of 39 presumably as a result of giving birth to her new son James. By this time Edwin and Mary had a total of four children: Frank born in 1882, Louisa born in 1885 and Robert in 1888. Edwin did not remarry and it appears he passed away in 1899. The only death certificate that can be found shows him as Edward Montaith, which is a misspelling, but since he cannot be found on censuses after this time it appears that this death record is for him.
At the 1901 census, both Louisa, Robert and James are living with Edwin’s brothers in Yorkshire, and Frank himself is a butcher’s assistant living in Banks road in West Kirby. Perhaps this is where he had an apprenticeship. By 1911 Frank was a fully fledged butcher and had secured a position in Colwyn Bay, Wales but by 1914 he had returned to Newton, Cheshire (near Chester) to live. He gives his home address as 15 Gresford Ave in Newton when he enlists in the 10th (Scottish) (Reserve) Brigade, The King’s Liverpool Regiment on 28th November 1914 as Private 4201.
In January 1915 Frank signed an agreement that in the case of a National Emergency he could be sent to serve any place outside the United Kingdom. He embarked for France on 11th March 1915 with his Battalion.
On the 16th of June 1915, he was listed as wounded and missing in Flanders. The 16th of June 1915 was the first major engagement for Frank’s battalion, and along with two other battalions also at Hooge, near Ypres, they had the intent of reaching trenches on the South West edge of Bellewaarde Lake. Situated behind German lines was Bellewaarde Ridge, a tactically important feature that overlooked British positions. The Liverpool Scottish and the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment formed the second wave of attack. As the battle progressed it quickly degenerated into a disorganized and chaotic event with British battalions losing cohesion and getting mixed up with each other. An intensive German barrage decimated the occupants of the second-line trenches, and this could have been where Frank died.
He is memorialized on panels 4 and 6 at the Menin Gate Ypres, and on the headstone of his Grandparents grave at St. Bridget’s in West Kirby, on Grange Hill War memorial and he plaques at St Bridget and St Andrew churches.
Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium
Birth: Q4 1881 Oxton, Cheshire
Death: 16 June 1915 in Hooge, Ypres, Belgium
Addresses: 1891 – Hawthorn Street, Bollin Fee, Altrincham. 1901 – Shop, Banks Road, Hoylake cum West Kirby. 1911 – 15 Gresford Avenue, Newton near Chester, Cheshire
Unit: 10th Scottish Reserve, King’s Liverpool Regiment
Number & Rank: 4201 Private
Medals: Victory, British, 15 Star
Commemorated: Menin Gate Ypres & St. Bridget’s, West Kirby
Sources: CWGC, GH, MC, SR, DA, BR, Probate, PR, WK, Census 1891, 1901, 1911