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Francis John Hannam


Captain Francis John Hannam - Killed in action 5th July 1916 - 2/4th Battalion 'C' Company. Aged 36. Born Bristol. Son of Samuel and Laura, of Bristol. Husband of Edith. Buried at Laventie Military Cemetery.

1881 census has family at Zion Villa, Bedminster. 1891 census has family living at Craigoide, Waverley Road, Westbury-on-Trym. Father Timber Merchant. 2 sisters Maude and Mabel K.

Captain F J Hannam Bristol Evening News July 10th 1916

Captain Hannam's death. Story of his last raid.

Corporal H Yarrow - writing to his wife in Bristol:

Well, here I am at last safe and well, but with a bullet wound in the right wrist. My hand is a bit easier, though now too stiff to write the field card while in Boulogne. The bullet went through and it happened on Wednesday morning 1.30 a.m. We were attacking the German troops, it was a bombing raid. A grenade dropped by my side. I was on hands and knees. I rolled quickly away. It exploded but I was not touched.

It was a game getting into barbed wire, ditches etc. A German machine gun played havoc with us. I was soaked with mud and water. I ditched the gong (?), but I have a nice souvenir, a water bottle (copper).

We were shelled heavily before and after we attacked. Another chap in my company is in the next bed.

We were in their trenches 1½ hours after we attacked as it was too risky to get out.

We honestly looked forward to it all, with no fear whatsoever.

Captain Hannam was killed in this raid. I never saw any more of him. C B shall be here about 21 days.

Bristol Evening News Tuesday July 11th 1916

The late Captain Hannam. His connection with cricket.

Mr J L Roberts: Hon. Sec. Bristol Cricket Association writes:

In a reference today to the death of Captain Hannam, no mention was made of the fact that for the past four years he had been chairman of the Cricket Association, a position he filled with great ability. By his wise council, true sportsmanship, and sterling uprightness of character, he had endeared himself to one and all. No chairman was more beloved than he. His death is a great blow to us and his loss will be most keenly felt. His genial presence at our meetings and on the cricket field was always an inspiration to his comrades.

He fell whilst serving his King and country in France and whilst doing a noble act in rendering aid to a wounded soldier. He left behind him a noble example. May we follow it.

One of his last acts before leaving England was to entertain our committee to dinner when a very pleasant and happy evening was spent and a substantial cheque was handed to him for the committee on behalf of the Association for the purchase of Christmas gifts for his battalion on the front.

Monday July 24th 1916 Bristol Evening News

A Bristol Hero Sportsmen's tribute to late Captain Hannam.

'A brave man and a gentleman' A memorial service to afford sportsmen an opportunity of paying a last tribute to the memory of Captain Frank Hannam, who fell in action in France on July 5th, was held at St Mary's, Tyndall Park yesterday afternoon. This service was unique, for on no previous occasion has such a representative gathering of sportsmen assembled in Bristol. Every department of athletic life in the two counties sent its representatives, and the large congregation afforded a striking and remarkable tribute to the popularity and sterling worth of Frank Hannam, true sportsman and gallant gentleman. When the full story of how Captain Hannam died is known it may be that even the heroism detailed in the reports already published has failed to do justice to the magnificent bravery of his end. "If it is true in a sense' said Reverend F. Norton, in his impressive address at the service 'that the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, it is true, in a measure, that Frank Hannam's energy, courage and coolness, daring and self sacrifice was learned in no small degree upon the playing fields of Bristol'. 'They had assembled that afternoon,' he said,' to take off their hats-if he might use the term-to a brave man and a gentleman. Known throughout Bristol as Frank Hannam, his death has caused a tremendous loss in their lives. Few sacrifices in this war could have been greater than his, for he was in the prime of his life, mentally, physically and - let them not forget it- spiritually. Ever since he went into the trenches he never forgot to go to God's altar for strength and help. Although not a soldier in the accepted sense of the word, so far as deeds went he proved himself a soldier of the very highest type. He had only been a short time as a soldier, but if they measured his influence, his courage, his modesty, his human kindness and sound commonsense, then those who knew him know that that short time fulfilled a very long time. When a brave man died they have to thank God for the great example left behind. He would like to speak of his glorious career as a soldier but Frank Hannam would be the last to wish it and he would let it pass. What would be the result of his noble sacrifice upon those of them left behind? Surely it would be to strengthen their resolve and see this thing through to a triumphant conclusion. They dared not let the great principles for which he died fail for want of any effort they could put forth. Frank Hannam's sacrifice must not be in vain, the work of sacrifice begun must be continued, remembering that he and so many of his comrades were looking down upon them from some vantage point, eagerly watching.' 'It was with special emphasis,' the Vicar read at the opening of the service, the words "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' and the note of solemnity was deepened at the close when the buglers sounded the 'Last Post' and Mr C. W. Stear played the Dead March in 'Saul'. The members of the family present included Mrs Frank Hannam (widow) Mr S.J.S.Hannam (father) Mrs C E Boucher and Miss M Hannam, Mr C E Boucher (brother-in-law) Mr & Mrs E P Lewis, Mr & Mrs G H Boucher, Miss Helen Boucher (sister-in-law). In compiling the appended list of those present at the service it has only been possible to give in the main the names of the actually appointed representatives of the various athletic bodies. Most of the Clubs were of course represented by many members. Cricket was fully represented by the following gentlemen: Gloucester CC Mr H W Beloe Bristol and District CCA Messrs W H Brown (president) J Chard (vice-chairman) etc etc etc Rugby: W T Pearce (RFU) E. S. Bostock-Smith Vice President Clifton RFC: W S Paul, F H Thomas, F E Metcalf, J C Gilmore, A Gardiner, E J G Higham, Percy Lowther, C M Welsby, T H Butler, D A Clarke. Representatives (too many to list) from Bristol, Gloucester, Saracens, Referees Association, Grammar School Old Boys Society as well as 30 members of Bristol Rugby Training Corps. The article went on to list by name officials from a very wide variety of athletic clubs and associations, too numerous to detail given the time available.

Bristol Evening News August 17th 1918

Death of Mr S J Hannam

We regret to announce the death of Mr Samuel John Hannam, 31, Cotham Vale, Redland, after a brief illness. He was chairman of Messrs. Samuel J. Hannam, Builders Timber Merchants, 93, St Thomas Street, Bristol and had been connected with the timber trade for over half a century. He keenly felt the death of his only son, Captain Frank J. Hannam, Glosters, who was killed in action in France, July 1916.

Above 31 Cotham Vale the home of Samuel John Hannam, father of Francis John Hannam

Back Row (L-R): Wright, Lowe, F.J.Hannam, F.T.Bocucher, F.T.B.Logan, Cook, W.V.?, M.F.Carter. Front Row: Davis, Brewster, H.C.Leonard, H.A.M.Parker, H.J.H.Muscamp

Above Francis Hannam in the Old Bristolians Cricket Club July 1905. Scan of a xerox, a proper scan will be included soon.

Above left: photograph of Francis Hannam from the 1902-03 Clifton XV and Above right: from the 1907-08 Clifton XV.

Above Francis Hannam's signature from 1908.

Francis Hannam was married to Edith Boucher, a tennis player who won 2 Gold Medals in the 1912 Olympics. Born on 28th November 1878 in Bristol. She died on 16th January 1951 in Bristol. She had four brothers who were all keen sportsmen. After returning from a spell in Canada, where her husband had a business, Hannam won ten Welsh titles between 1912 and 1923. She was a finalist twice at Wimbledon. 3 of her brothers played for Clifton, Charles E. Boucher (A Chemist joined 1909), Frank T. Boucher (A Doctor joined 1906) who also played for Gloucestershire and appears in the 1906-07, 1907-08, 1908-09, 1909-10 and 1910-11 Clifton XV photo and George H. Boucher (A Solicitor joined 1901). Their father John Boucher was a Pharmacutical Chemist.

Above Edith Hannam in 1912.

As the outdoor lawn tennis events at the 1912 Olympics coincided with Wimbledon, Great Britain was not represented in this part of the program but they did send a strong team to the Olympic indoor events in May. The most successful member of this team was Edith Hannam who won the two gold medals. In the singles final, she beat Sofie Castenschiold of Denmark in straight sets and then joined Charles Dixon to take the mixed doubles title. Edith Boucher came from a prominent Gloucestershire family and her four brothers were all notable sportsmen in the area. In May 1909 she married Francis Hannam, after which she gave up tennis for a while when the newly married coupled settled in Canada where her husband pursued his business interests as a timber merchant. The Hannam’s did not stay long in Canada and on their return Edith became an outstanding figure at the Welsh Championships, winning a total of ten titles between 1912 and 1923. She enjoyed mixed fortunes at Wimbledon, her best years being 1911, when she reached the All Comers singles final, and 1914 when, with Ethel Larcombe as her partner Ethel Larcombe as her partner, she was a finalist in the women’s doubles.