Frank (1) Livesey

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Brief biography

Frank (1) Livesey was born in 1895 to parents Joseph (1) Livesey and his second wife Emma Stubbs. His birth certificate [Birth Index: Salford 8d 113, 1895 (Dec)] states that he was born on November 3rd 1895 at 36, Quay Street in Salford. His mother, residing at that address, was the informant.

The 1901 Census finds him at age 5 living with his father at 14, Quay Street.

He served in the Army during WW1. His pay book shows that he served first with the 2nd/9th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment in the Territorial Force and was then transferred to the Royal West Kents. He suffered many terrible battle experiences, especially at the Somme. He was taken prisoner by the Germans, had his teeth smashed by a guard's rifle butt and was subjected to forced labour in a salt mine. Released at the War's end, he had to make his own way home on foot across the vastness of France, starving so badly that his belly became distended.

Upon returning to England he convalesced at some kind of nursing home - a photograph survives which shows him and many other demobbed servicemen assembled outside the building.

Around 1922, still unmarried, he became the partner of Maud Ethel (nee Bone) (MEB), who had recently left her husband Henry Hanlon. Not much is known of how they came to meet in Manchester in the early Twenties, but MEB said she first set eyes upon Frank (1) at one of the venues - typically working-men's clubs - in which he sang or stage-acted, having been introduced there by the friends with whom she took up lodgings when she left the Hanlon household.

Further details of the life of MEB and her ancestry can be found on this page in the Woodhurst Family History website.

He and MEB subsequently produced two non-identical twin daughters and one son, all born in Manchester. One of these children, Emmeline Margaret, died in 1928 from diphtheria [Death Index: Manchester N. 8d 773, 1928 (March)] and was buried in Harpurhey Cemetery.

Around 1933-34 they moved from Manchester to Ruislip in Middlesex, eventually settling at 24, Dawlish Drive. Frank (1), whose trade was in boiler-making, had no problems in finding suitable engineering work locally.

They moved to Builth Wells in Breconshire soon after the outbreak of WW2. They lived at several addresses there until settling in a tiny cottage adjoining Llanelwedd Villa. Neither of them could obtain proper war work at first, and had to go away to Merthyr Tydfil for some time for specialised engineering training. They were among the first wave of such trainees, who were specially trained to serve as trainers and supervisors themselves of employees to be engaged subsequently for new workplaces in Builth devoted to the making of armaments.

In late 1940, hearing that his mother Emma was seriously ill, Frank (1) travelled by himself from Builth up to Manchester to see her. She died shortly after his return to Builth.

It was during this period in Builth that Frank (1) became unwell with renal tuberculosis, probably a consequence of his earlier privations in WW1. In the end he had to be hospitalised, first in the Builth Cottage Hospital and subsequently in the Talgarth Sanatorium. He remained there for some months until discharging himself, mainly because his own consultant had been suffering from kidney failure and had committed suicide. Back in Builth, he soon afterwards became very ill and was forced to return to the Cottage Hospital. He died there on June 14th 1943, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Matthew at Llanelwedd. A short obituary notice was published in The Brecon and Radnor Express. His grave did not originally bear either a headstone or any other feature identifying it as his own, but an inscribed plaque was set upon it by his only grandson in April 1987.

MEB died at Alton Community Hospital in Hampshire on January 16th 1996, aged 98.

His children by Maud Ethel Bone

  1. Emmeline Margaret Livesey - born in 1924
  2. Amelia Ethel Livesey - born in 1924 (also)
  3. Harold (1) Livesey - born in 1926