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Posted: 10.02.17

Christ College Remembers . . . Lieutenant Frank Harrington Best

REMEMBRANCE DISPATCH No. 24 HAS BEEN POSTED IN HOUSES TO COMMEMORATE LIEUTENANT FRANK HARRINGTON BEST (DAY BOY 1904-1910) WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION ON 13th FEBRUARY 1917.

Frank Harrington Best, like his three brothers, was a Day Boy at Christ College. He was a popular boy, described as “a universal favourite; wholly irresponsible but most charming with the gift of friendship”. He left school in 1910 and followed his brother, Arthur, to the Central Technical College for Engineering at the University of London.

When war was declared he volunteered with the Brecknockshire Territorial Force Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. In October 1915 he sailed for India with his Battalion, which now included his brother Stephen. After six months in Aden, he and Stephen were again stationed in India; when more men were needed to fill the ranks of 4th (Service) Battalion which had been decimated by fighting in Gallipoli, Frank and Stephen were chosen to lead a draft of 140 men. They arrived in Mesopotamia on February 7th 1917.

Just six days after their arrival the British attacked a large Turkish force trapped in a bend on the River Tigris. Initially held in reserve, on February 13th the 4th Battalion was moved up to the front line where enemy fire swept through the poorly sited trenches. Six men were killed and sixteen wounded, with two officers wounded and two killed, including Frank.

Lieutenant Frank Harrington Best is commemorated at the Basra Memorial and in the University of London O.T.C. Roll of War Service, as well as on the Christ College War Memorial.

Frank Best was the first of three brothers to be killed in the early months of 1917. Their only surviving brother, Walter Maybery Best, designed the Memorial Cross in Chapel Yard and the memorial tablet in the ante-chapel.

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