F A Finnis

F A Finnis. Hardinge 1897
Courtesy of Wellington College Archive

Colonel Frank Alexander Finnis CB OBE was born in 1881 in Murree, India, the eldest son of Colonel Henry Finnis CSI CBE Royal Engineers. He went to Wellington in 1894, and was in the Hardinge, where his brother Steriker William Finnis would follow him five years later, and another brother and a nephew would follow them. The Chaldecott Brothers were in the Hardinge with him, and they are all shown in the Dormitory Photograph of 1895. Frank was made a Prefect. He would go on to Woolwich and win the Sword of Honour, and be commissioned in the Gunners.

Things were reversed in the OW Lodge, with his brother Steriker joining the Lodge in 1911, whilst Frank joined the Lodge in 1935. Frank was made WDM shortly thereafter in 1937. He was initiated into Stewart Lodge No 1960. He was also a joining member of Kitchener Lodge, and was made a Grand Deacon by Grand Lodge.

He served from 1900 to 1901 with No. 31 Company, Western Division, RGA at Plymouth and was promoted Lieutenant RGA on 3 April 1901. He served in South Africa from November 1901 to October 1902 with No. 56 Company, RGA and his four clasp QSA is confirmed in the army lists for his service in the Orange River Colony and on the medal roll for services also with 22 SD, 63 Co. RGA. In October 1902 he was back in India and until 1906 he served with No. 8 Mountain Battery, RGA at Rawal Pindi, Punjab. He joined the Indian Ordnance Department in 1906 being present with the Bazar Valley Frontier Force on the North West Frontier in 1908.

In 1911 he married Hazel, daughter of Major General Leonard William Christopher CB and the following year he was promoted to Captain IOD. He was promoted to Major IOD in 1915 and was Acting Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Director, Ordnance Services from  1917 to 1919. He received his brevet of Lieutenant Colonel in 1919 and for his services in the Great War he was MID on at least one occasion and granted the Brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He was Assistant Director, Ordnance Services, India, served in the campaign in Afghanistan of 1919 and was MID for his services. He participated in the Waziristan campaign as part of the “Waziristan Force” from 1919 to 1920 as Assistant Director, Ordnance Services, India. One presumes that since he held this position before and after the Afghan war of 1919 he served in this capacity during both campaigns. He was awarded the OBE as Major and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Royal Artillery “for valuable services rendered in the Field with the Waziristan Force”.

He was  made full Colonel in 1928, and a Companion on the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 1930 as “Colonel OBE, Indian Army, Deputy Director of Ordnance Services, Master-General of the Ordnance Branch, Headquarters, India”. The following year he was Deputy Director of Ordnance Services, Northern Command, India, until 1933 where he became Inspector, Indian Ordnance Services, until 1935. This was his last appointment as he retired in 1935.1

On retirement from the army he moved to Camberley and became a Commissioner for Land Tax for the County of Surrey.

He died on 29 January 1941 aged 69 in Abingdon


  1. Tatham family history