Frank Branston (Philcox)

186555 Lance-Corporal, Machine Gun Corps

Machine Gun badge | Courtesy of Philip Cobb
Machine Gun badge
Courtesy of Philip Cobb

Frank Philcox is one of the men named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen. This was evidently the name he went by in Bottesford, though he was christened Frank Branston and this was the name he went by in later records including his military service record.

Family background

Dates of the births of members of the Philcox family are slightly inconsistent in the various records examined, and those given here may be in error to a small extent. Even so, they set out a coherent family history.

Frank Philcox, son of William Branstone and Fanny nee Philcox, was stated on his baptismal record to have been born on the 4th December 1890, but he was not baptised until the 17th July 1892 at Bottesford, when he was recorded as Frank Branston (the ‘e’ of Branstone omitted, possibly a clerical error, but one which he retained in his future life).

His father was William Tyler Branstone, born 1857 in Bottesford, son of Henry Branstone (b.1828 at Bottesford) and Elizabeth Tyler (b.1829 at Normanton).

His mother, Fanny, was born in 1866, a daughter of John Philcox (b.1828 or 1830 in Battle, Sussex) and Sarah Robinson (b.1831, in Bottesford). They had six children, Mary (13), John (9), Sarah Elizabeth (7), Fanny (5) and twins Annie and Kate. In 1881, when Fanny was fifteen, they lived at the Gas House adjacent to the small village gas works where John Philcox was the furnace stoker.

Fanny Philcox and William Branstone got married on the 26th May, 1890, and Frank was born at the end of the year. He is recorded as Frank Philcox in the 1901 census and in the village’s list of its WW1 Servicemen, but in other records he is Frank Branston, creating a degree of confusion when tracing his history.

In 1901, the Branstones lived in one of the cottages at The Green, Bottesford. William was a 45 year old railway platelayer, Fanny was 35, and there were five children, Frank (11), William (7), Florence (5), Annie (3) and John (1).

Searches of the census of 1911 have failed to discover the whereabouts of Frank Philcox (or Branston). However, the records indicate that he married Elsie May Braithwaite on the 2nd October, 1911, in Plungar, Leicesteshire. From his subsequent military records it can be suggested that he lived in Bingham at the time he got married.

Military service

Frank Branston attested at Newark on the 10th January 1916, and was approved at Derby on the 7th May 1916. He was a baker who lived with his wife Elsie May in Kirk Hill, Bingham, but declared that he was born in Bottesford (in 1886). He became Private 186555 in the 20th Training Reserve Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, having originally been given the number 182892. On the 11th May 1918 he was posted to the 115th TRB and on May 14th promoted to Lance-Corporal. He was demobilised on the 3rd February 1919, having had a “definite offer of employment”. At this time his residential address was Newgate Street, Bingham.

There is no indication that he served outside the UK, and no record of his medal awards has been seen.

After the war

Frank and Elsie had two children by the end of the war, Frank (b.1912) and Noel (b.1914), and a third son Ronald was born in 1922.

No records of the family have been found in Registers of Electors from the 1920s. However, in 1939, Frank Branston lived at Hardigate Road, Bingham. He was a baker, b.20th December 1889, who lived with his wife Elsie May Branston, b.16th July 1894, and son Ronald, b.17th June 1922, a baker’s assistant.

A man named Frank Branston died in Nottingham in 1970.

Comments about this page

  • It might be of some use to add that there is a record in the Probate Calendar for 1970 which roughly matches Frank’s occupation before World War One, and the details given on the 1939 Register. It states that Frank Branston, of The Bakery, Hardigate Road, Cropwell Butler, died on 20 July 1970. When probate was granted on 9 November 1970, his estate was valued at £24,818. (Frank is distantly related to me; his grandfather Henry Branston was an older half brother to my great-great-grandad John Branston; John was born in 1847 in Bottesford.)

    By Kate Hurst (17/12/2017)
  • Hello Kate, Thank you very much for adding these details to Frank Branston’s records. Our searches can only find so much, and there is always more that we would hope to add when the opportunity arises. Neil Fortey

    By Neil Fortey (18/12/2017)

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