Frank Tickner was born in Thame on 23rd September 1900, son of Henry and Edith Tickner living at 42 North Street. In 1911 he was at school in Barking, living with his mother and four siblings. His father was a building labourer moving where the work was.
Frank was a messenger boy in 1916, when he signed on with the Royal Navy, becoming Boy 2nd Class J/59090 Frank Tickner. He was posted to the training ship HMS Impregnable at Devonport, until at the end of May 1917, and by now a “Boy 1st Class” he was given his first, and only sea posting on the St Vincent class dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard.
Just before midnight on 9th July 1917 at Scapa Flow, Vanguard suffered an explosion, probably caused by an unnoticed stokehold fire heating cordite stored against an adjacent bulkhead in one of the two magazines which served the amidships gun turrets ‘P’ and ‘Q’. She sank almost instantly, killing an estimated 804 men; there were only two survivors. Frank Tickner was not one of them.
The wreck site is now a protected war grave. Frank Tickner is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, but his name is yet to be commemorated in Thame.