Private, SD/2934, 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
Killed in Action, 16 April 1916, near Festubert, Pas de Calais, France, aged 26
Buried in the Post Office Rifles Cemetery, Festubert.
Grave reference: I. A. 9

Private Frank Hyder

Private Frank Hyder was born in Tonbridge, Kent in 1889, the son of Mary Ann (née Card) (b.1857) and Thomas Pollington Hyder (b.1839).

Frank had five sisters and two brothers, one of whom also served in the First World War. Harry (also listed as Henry on some censuses) was born in 1875 and lived with his parents in 1901 and 1911. In 1901 he was listed as a road worker and in 1911 as a gardener. He was single. Alice was born next in 1876 followed by Emily in 1878. Fanny was born in 1882 and married Arthur Curtis in 1905 in Forest Hill, London. Arthur was a stone mason. By 1911 Fanny and Arthur had two children and lived in Croydon. Arthur also served in the Great War in the Railway Troops Depot. He lived until 1962. Charles was born in 1886 in Fordcombe, Kent. He married Poppy May Woodbine Underwood on 15 August 1908 at the Bethesda Chapel in Forest Row. During the First World War he served with the 4th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, joining up in December 1915. He survived the war and died in 1968 in Uckfield. Nellie was born in 1887. Grace was born in 1894 and married Frederick Harmer in 1914 in East Grinstead. Frederick was a bricklayer from Lingfield. They emigrated to Western Australia on the Themistocles on 20 June 1923 with their four children. Finally, Florence was born in 1897.

Children at the Convent School in Coleman's Hatch circa 1920
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Source: The Weald website. The caption given to this photograph on the website does not appear
to be accurate, but it is thought that Frank Hyder's daughter, Elsie, is one of the children in this photograph.

Frank married Mary Ellen (née Divall) (b.1884) Hyder in 1910 in East Grinstead. They had four children: Elsie Ellen (born March 1911), Mary Elizabeth (born June 1912), Frank (born June 1913) and Florence Marjorie (born December 1914).

Before the war broke out Frank worked for a local building firm, Messrs. H&E Waters of Forest Row. He also worked as a 'stone digger for road making'. Frank and Mary Ellen are listed in the 1911 census as living with their parents-in-law at The Rough, Coleman's Hatch. His father, Thomas, was a 'road carter' in 1901 and in 1911 he was listed as a bricklayer — at the age of 68. His father-in-law John Divall was also listed as a 'stone digger for road making' in the 1911 census (in 1891 he was listed as a 'general labourer' and in 1901 as an 'agricultural labourer').

In the 1939 Register, Mary Ellen was listed as widowed and living at The Rough, Uckfield with Elsie, Florence and Frank junior. Mary Ellen died in 1972 aged 88. Elsie Ellen Hyder married William Awcock in Uckfield in 1940. She died aged 84 in 1994 in Crawley. Frank does not appear to have married.

Graves Registration Report Form,
including Private Frank Hyder's name
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Frank Hyder was killed in action on 16 April 1916 in a battle near Festubert in the Pas de Calais, France. His company had moved from Verte Rue to Locon via Merville on 14 April 1916. They took over the Right Sub-Sector of Givenchy Area relieving the 13th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. They were positioned near La Bassée Canal. The trenches they occupied were found to be in very poor condition. The wire in front of the parapet was practically non-existent. The troops spent the day building dugouts and closing a gap in the parapet. On 16 April the enemy shelled the trenches and made a direct hit on the parapet killing a number of men. It is likely one of these was Frank. He was aged 26. That evening enemy machine guns were very active. The toll for the day was 5 killed and 16 wounded.

Newspaper report of death
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The Post Office Rifles Cemetery, Festubert
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Frank is buried in the Post Office Rifles Cemetery, Festubert: Grave I. A. 9. He is listed on the war memorials in Coleman's Hatch and Hartfield. He left £1 14 shillings to his widow, Mary Ellen.

Private Frank Hyder's gravestone
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Carol O'Driscoll