My Uncle Frank Quenby: A legend and some facts



My Uncle Frank Quenby: A legend and some facts


Private Frank Quenby, Hertfordshire Yeomanry and West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own).


1. Commemorative certificate for Frank Quenby from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
2. Family photograph of the Quenby family. The photograph shows George Quenby (1862-1936) and Elizabeth Quenby née Line (1865-1937) with their family in 1916. The picture was, as far as I know, taken at their home East End Farm, Hertingfordbury, about 10 miles from Hertford.
From the left looking towards the picture:
Back row Charlie 1899-1958, Sydney 1891-1968, Harry 1901-1985.
Next row, Kathleen, 1889-1993. Florence, 1893-1982. Lilian 1897-1976.
Children at end Norah (my mother) 1903-1997 and George 1905-1978.
Front row Frank 1896-1918, (my) Grandma Elizabeth 1865-1937, Jean, 1908-2005 (my) Grandad George, 1862-1936.


Family legend held that Frank Quenby enlisted under age and was killed shortly after doing so. His enlistment under age could only have been in 1914 if, when he enlisted he was still only 17 but claimed to be 18. He was originally in the 2nd Battalion Hertfordshire Yeomanry but was later transferred to the West Yorks Regt (Prince of Wales Own). The situation is further complicated by the fact that he is stated on the War Memorial as being 24 in 1918, which would have meant he was born in 1894, whereas the 1901 census return indicates that he was born in 1896!

There is a further discrepancy in that he is on the East End Village (Hertfordshire) War Memorial as being in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry!

According to “The long, long, trail”, (sourced via the Internet), the 2nd Battalion was formed September 1914, and remained in UK as a training battalion until almost the end of the War, all fit men being sent as drafts to France in March 1918. This would account for the legend that Frank was killed shortly after arriving in France. He is buried at Arras, with a date of death as 21st March 1918, the Battle of St Quentin.

Other sources suggest that from 1916 onward soldiers were transferred between regiments because of the catastrophic effects, particularly on some Lancashire towns, of all the young men in several adjoining streets being killed in battles such as the Somme. (The ”Pals” battalions). As an example, “The History of the East Lancashire Regiment in the Great War" records that out of some 720 Accrington Pals who took part in the Battle of the Somme, 584 (over 80%) were killed, wounded or missing, with the vast majority killed. Regiments such as the Hertfordshire Yeomanry would have had similar groups of brothers, friends & neighbours since in 1914 quite possibly all the village lads who were 18 plus would have joined up together.


1914-1918; 21/03/1918.


Arras. St Quentin. Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire.


Miall Eric Quenby James.

Collection Day

23/02/2019, Mackie Academy, Stonehaven.

Other Media

This item was submitted on April 5, 2019