Frank Tapping (1889 – 1963)
Written by Mark Tapping
At the end of 1915 Frank and his companions were thankful to return via Mudros to Egypt. The regiment then served in Egypt until transferred to Palestine in 1916 where, as part of the 6th. Mounted Brigade of the Imperial Mounted Division (later the Yeomanry Mounted Division) they took part in the battles of Gaza and the subsequent advances – much of this being over ground which was to become well known to Frank’s son during World War 2 although under different circumstances. In 1917 the regiment was converted into a Machine Gun Battalion and was transferred to Italy and then France but Frank stayed on in Egypt, serving as a Corporal in the military Mounted Police. Eventually at the end of 1918 he was sent home to England and discharged (he was awarded the 1914/15 Star and the British War and Victory medals) and was at last able to return to the quiet, peaceful Bucks countryside and to his family.
Frank returned to helping his father and brothers on Bedgrove Farm and the horrors of war gradually faded into memory. While he had been away his elder sister Edith Mary had married (in 1917) John Read Adams in Weston Turville church and moved to Warmstone near Waddesdon, where his family had lived and farmed for many generations. Then, soon after Frank’s return, in 1919 his eldest sister Kit (Kate) married Dr. Thomas Perrin F.R.C.S., M.D., (and member of a well known west country family ~ one of his uncles was the Rt. Rev. W.W. Perrin who was Bishop Suffragan of Willesdon and whose memorial may be seen in the Church of St. Andrew Undershaft in St. Mary Axe, London E.C.2. Thomas’ father, also Thomas, had been a Certified Officer in the Merchant Service and had skippered his own ship.) Thomas Perrin first came to Aylesbury in 1906 and had later served in the R.A.M.C., as a Captain, in France and Egypt and was himself only just demobilised. The couple moved to Temple Square in Aylesbury where Thomas continued to build his practice and his reputation ~ he was a very clever surgeon ~ becoming an Honorary Surgeon at the Royal Bucks Hospital. Another of Frank’s family, his brother Will, had also recently been demobilised and took over Yew Tree Farm in Stoke Mandeville where he was to marry and to farm for many years, while Frank’s youngest sister Jen (Gladys Jane) was soon to marry another farmer returned from soldiering, Thomas Adams (nephew of John Read Adams) and move to Sharp’s Hill Farm in Kingswood.
Frank himself again met Flo’ Hall (now Featherstone) who in younger days he had admired. She had been married, had one son and had been abruptly widowed by a tragic wartime accident. Frank fell in love and, although she was now working as a Mother’s Help in London where she lived with an elder sister, he wooed and won her. So on 14th July 1921, in the Church of St. Jude on the Hill, Golders Green in north west London (where her elder sister Constance May had been married the previous year to Dr. W.J.T. Kimber, M.R.C.S, L.R.C.P. (and later D.P.M., a noted child psychiatrist) Frank and Flo were quietly married. Flo was the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Hall, now of Manor Farm, Marsworth, members of another old Bucks farming family. The marriage proved to be successful and in spite of the many trials and tribulations which they were to experience the couple lived a happy life together. So happy, that in the 42 years of married life which followed, their children could never remember having heard a harsh word, spoken in anger, between them.