Frank was the fourth of James & May Horne's five children. The 1901 Census shows the family living at Barnes Convalescent Hospital, Cheadle, where James Horne was the engineer. The eldest son, William, was then working at one of the local bleachworks, whilst the second son, Herbert, seems to have been an apprentice to his father.
Frank will have been an early recruit into the first of the Cheshires' "New Army" battalions. He joined at Stockport, probably in September 1914. He will have seen action in the latter stages of the Gallipoli campaign. The Cheshires were there from July 1915 until January 1916, but were not involved in any major attacks. The remainder of Frank's service was in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq)
He is recorded as having "died", which suggests from natural causes rather than injuries received in battle. In the period from when the Battalion arrived in Mesopotamia in February 1916 until Frank died, 320 soldiers died in total. Of these, 98 were for reasons unconnected with battle. This is a high proportion compared with battalions fighting on the Western Front. Conditions were atrocious as indicated by the following extract from the Regimental History "The troops were worm out with diseases, dysentery, cholera and boils. Vegetables were not to be had. The temperature was 130 degrees in the tents. The casualties from heat were very heavy. By the end of August (1916), the Battalion mustered only 8 officers and 279 men."
The following are extracts from the Battalion's War Diary, written each day, usually by the Adjutant, immediately preceding Frank's death:-
1/11/17 No firewood ration - reported to Brigade
2/11/17 97 in hospital. Septic sores and diahorea
8/11/17 We now get plenty of firewood and also coal. We now draw rations from Qulat Al Mufti instead of Bint Al Hasa. Tents arrived,
16/11/17 112 now in hospital
22/11/17 Four cookers arrived but horses in miserable condition and go back to S & T to get fit. Drivers go back for training. There are many deficiencies with the cookers.
24/11/17 Winter clothing (part worn) received
25/11/17 Fitted serge clothing - It is in a disgraceful condition being crawling with lice, full of lice eggs, may coats filthy and in rags. Many coats and trousers deficient in buttons. A few new suits among them but generally speaking lousy, filthy and unfit for issue. I reported same to brigade and stopped issue of bad stuff.
27/11/17 Had to return a large quantity of serge clothing as unfit for issue - verminous, ragged, dirty. Most part-worn. Clothing from Somerset Light Infantry and Highland Light Infantry. It was in a disgraceful condition. Received 577 suits and returned 114 jackets and 135 trousers.
A week later, the Battalion went into action again. One can only guess at the troops' morale.
(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)