Frank Albert (Hector) Fink was born 27 October 1873, in the Camberwell Workhouse, Surrey, and was the eighth known child born to Peter and Elizabeth. The 1881 census lists him as a 7 year old scholar b. London.
By 1891 he must have given himself the name he chose to be known as; ‘Hector’, as it is in this census we find him as Frank H Fink age 16, farm scholar b. Holloway. Hector was living at the Nuffield Gladstone Philanthropic Farm School and, as were all the boys, he was ‘under detention in Reformatory’.
From the Rossbret Reformatories Website: ‘A Reformatory School was an Institution for the Industrial training of Juvenile Offenders. They were Residential, where clothing, food, lodging were supplied whilst they were given training. Juveniles up to the age of 16 were sent to Reformatory School when convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment. The order for detention was made by the court, and the maximum limit for a Reformatory was the age of nineteen’. I imagine that the offences would be very minor by to-days standards.
By 1897 Hector must have joined the Durham Light Infantry and gone to India as there are several photos on the Durham County Record Office web site of various bands and ‘Fink’ is in each of them. His grandson recalls Hector telling him a story of how he and a friend did something to upset some local Indians and were chased by some enraged natives with knives. Hector then went, with his unit, to serve in the Boer War.
It’s not known when Hector returned to England but when he signed up for WW1 in Canada in 1915 he stated that he had served in the Durham Light Infantry for 10 years. He was 5 ft 4 in, sallow complexion, brown eyes, brown hair with a tattoo of an anchor on his left arm. To join the army it appears he lowered his age by two years.
Hector married Gertrude Anna Hines at Ipswich September ¼ 1911.
A grandson advises that “Gertie was a widow, her husband Richard Pay having been drowned at sea only six weeks after their marriage. When Hec and Gertie met, he was a Bandleader at a boy’s school and she worked at a girl’s school, where one of her jobs was the sewing of girl’s uniforms.
In 1912 Grandfather Hector Fink came out to Victoria to check things out, leaving Grannie back in England. According to family legend, he tried to book passage on “HMCS Titanic” but it was sold out! Marjorie Gertrude b. 9 August 1912 in Ipswich, was 2 months old when Grannie sailed for Canada.
Granddad met her in Victoria and picked them up in a horse and buggy. Hector served in the Great War, and suffered from a mustard gas attack. His lungs were affected for the rest of his life. He used to smoke a cigarette using a cigarette holder. Very elegant!
Hector did write music, and the musical comedy he wrote for the “Strawberry Vale Women’s Institute” was highly praised in the local paper.” (see photo album for a copy of the programme)
A daughter, Dora was born in Victoria, Canada.
Hector passed away at the age of 85, 3rd January 1959 and his wife Gertrude 3rd July 1969 age 89, both in Victoria, BC, Canada.
Compiled by Alison from these sources:
- stories from grandchildren,
- family photos,
- Canadian Archives,
- A kind researcher, Diana Gaiger, in Canada