Private Francis Joseph Alexander Marchant, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, died in the Kings Norton registration district area on 20th August 1920 and, as he was a Catholic, is buried at Olton Franciscan Cemetery. He was 23 years old.
Known as Frank, he was born on 4th January 1897 in Liverpool, and was the youngest of three children born to parents, Alexander and Catherine (née Knowles), who had married in 1893 in the West Derby registration district.
Frank was the only son, having two older sisters – Elsie Mary Therese (1894-1928) and Sarah Catherine (born 1896). The baptism register of St Bridget, Wavertree notes that the three children “were baptised in the Romish branch of the church and received into the Anglican Branch at the request of the father on 21 Nov 1900.”
The family moved to Birmingham sometime between 1901 and 1911. At the time of the 1911 census, they were living in Florence Road, Acocks Green. 14-year-old Frank was listed as an apprentice to a diamond mounter, whilst his father, Alexander, was working as an accountant.
It looks as if the family continued to live at Acocks Green, with their address in the 1920s being 59 Blythswood Road.
It seems that Private Francis Marchant’s service record was one of those destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, so we don’t have any detailed information about his war service or his cause of death. The Medal Index Card showing his entitlement to the 1914/15 Star indicates that he first entered a Theatre of War on 24th July 1915, so we know that he volunteered for active service rather than being conscripted. He also served for a time with the Herefordshire Regiment, before being transferred back to the Shropshire Light Infantry.
His name doesn’t appear on any of the war memorials in Acocks Green and, not being from Olton, doesn’t appear on Olton war memorial. He also appears not to be listed in the Remembrance Books at Birmingham Hall of Memory. His name is included on the Commonwealth War Graves Debt of Honour Register so he is considered a war casualty.
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian