Military Cross, GV, British War and Victory Medal, WW2 Defence Medal, Capt Frank Doveton Bazett, 3rd Royal Bekshire Regiment, Five times Mayor of Newbury, Kent, during WW1 and WW2, He served two years 1914 and 1915, before he went off to war, followed by 1942, 1943, 1944. He is the only man in Newbury to have been the Mayor 5 times. There is a photo of him in office wearing his medals and wearing his chain of office circa WW2.
Military Cross announced in the London Gazette 26th July 1918 as Lieut, Acting Captain, 3rd Bn Royal Berks Special Reserve:
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during recent operation. Under heavy machine-gun barrage he was constantly in the line reorganising the troops, who had become considerably mixed up with other units. He set a magnificent example to all around him, and more than once was instrumental in effecting an orderly withdrawal.”
Frank Doveton Bazett was born on 20th July 1883 to Alfred Campbell Bazett and Jane Elizabeth nee Knowles. His father was a successful solicitor in Cheapside, Newbury.
He was educated at Kings School, Somerset before going to Oxford, where he qualified to become a Solicitor like his father, who had died in 1898.
He was admitted as a Solicitor during April 1906 and joined Pitman and Bazett, of Newbury and Reading, Berks.
As the war began he was a local councillor and became the Mayor of Newbury during 1915, at the same time as being Mayor, he joined the Special Reserve during November 1915 as 2nd Lieutenant and began training.
He served at home from November 1915 until January 1917 as he was still doing work in England and was serving his second term as Mayor through various letters sent from training. During live grenade practice he was wounded.
He returned home safely after the war and during WW2 returned to the office of Mayor of Newbury, being elected in 1942 after the death of his predecessor in 1942, including being Newbury’s Chief Air Raid Warden during the War, whilst Newbury was heavily bombed on 10th February 1943. This led to him becoming mayor in 1943 and 1944. The only person to have been Mayor 5 times. He retired from the council in 1948 and was Freeman of the Town in 1949.
He sent the following emotive letter resigning from his 2nd term as Mayor from Fort Nelson, Fareham on 6th November 1916, which was in the Reading Mercury 11th November 1916:
“My Dear Alderman – Will you be so good as to take the chair at the special council meeting on Thursday, and carry through for me the election and installation of the new Mayor? I am most disappointed that I cannot be present myself. Absence on such an occasion would, in normal times, be considered a gross discourtesy, but I trust that you, the council, and the burgesses will accept my sincere apologies. My present Military Duties make it impossible for me to get away in the middle of the week.
Newbury has done me the great honour of choosing me as her Mayor for two successive years, years pregnant with history. The first of these I was privileged to spend in your midst – twelve months of interesting and, I venture to believe, useful work, only marred me from time to time by the haunting thought I was shirking sterner duties, which led me, towards the end, to apply for a commission in his Majesty’s Army.
It was a great surprise for me, and an irresistible compliment, when I was re-elected Mayor for the second year, and I hesitated for some time before accepting. Even now I am not satisfied that I did right in accepting office, for excepting an occasional weekend, and three weeks sick leave. I have been an absentee from beginning to end. But fortunately my instinct led me to ask Councillor Hakwer, most genial and unselfish of men, to act as my deputy, and thanks entirely to him, I think all will agree that my second year has been a successful one. His has not been an enviable position, and few men would have undertaken such a thankless task and carried it through with such zeal and tact. I will not shock Councillor Hawker’s modesty have written to him and, I hope, adequately acknowledged my indebtedness and gratitude.
When I was elected the second time in November 1915 I remember saying it was not a time for retrospection and complacency. I say the same today. We have, as a nation, been for over two years engaged in a righteous war, a struggle for the maintenance of those principles of justice and freedom for which England has ever fought, a war that has called for almost indescribable sacrifice on the part of everyone. They have been years of terrible anxiety and grief, and yet years of glory and hope, Disruption of business and family ties, sorrow and bereavement, have been the common lot, but few of us care to look back on what has been. It is not yet time to take stock; rather do we look forward with set teeth, hoping for an early and conclusive solution of all this chaos.
I am proud – very proud – of my town. Newbury has done her duty in every sense. Men and Women, young and old, whether in public or private life, have all taken their full share in the work attending the war. From the very beginning the percentage, of our young men volunteering for the fighting services has been far above the average. Many were held back by what they considered higher responsibilities, and remembering how indefinite were the demands of the State at the commencement of the war, they had my entire sympathy, but very few, thank God, had to be compelled to do their duty. Where all have done so well, it is surely invidious to attempt to allot the praise. So we turn form what is past, and face the future, resolved to do even better than we have done, to redouble our efforts, if necessary, until victory if ours. If my information is correct, the council has chosen as Mayor for the ensuing year the man to uphold this resolve. Your choice is particularly gratifying to me for reasons that will be obvious to everyone, and he has my sincere congratulations and very best wishes.
I cannot find words that will do justice to my feeling now that I have to relinquish my honourable office, but I wish to place on record my heartfelt thanks to all for their loyal encouragement and support during the past two years. The members of the council, the borough officials, the Police, and all with whom I have had dealings in Public Affairs, have always been most kind and lenient to me, in spite of my youth, inexperience, and obstinancy.
The Burgesses and local residents have always cheerfully supported the greedy importunities of myself and my wife, and have ungrudgingly given us of their best, whether in money, kind or work, and, when you come to think of it, our chief occupation has been ‘begging.’ Without the help of the press, half the movements that have succeeded would have failed – I cannot say more. I only hope that my successor in office will meet with the same cheery support and goodwill, and will, during his term of office, see Peace and the resumption of normal conditions.
For myself, there is nothing I desire more than to return to my old life and amongst you, but until that happy day it shall be my endeavour to uphold the honour of my Native town wherever I may be even as her other loyal sons have done and are daily doing. These words are but feeble expressions of that I feel and wish to say. It is all summed up in this. The past two years have been for my Wife and myself the proudest and happiest of our lives. We have made ore friends and met with more goodwill, than we dared to imagine, and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Yours Sincereley, Frank D. Bazzett, 2nd Lieut, 3rd Batt, Royal Berks Regt.”