Frank (see above) HUXLEY
Rank: Gunner
Number: 1279
Unit: 2nd (East Lancashire) Brigade ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 3 December 1915
Cemetery: Special Memorial, Twelve Trees Copse Cemetery, Helles, Turkey

Frank Huxley was 19 when he was killed in action at Gallipoli on 3 December 1915. He had been born in Delph, near Saddleworth, the son of John and Ada Huxley. The family came to live in the Stockport area in 1897 and lived at several addresses over the years. After the War, they were at 23 Heath Crescent, Bramhall Lane.

He was regular worshipper at St George's Church (and is commemorated on the War Memorial there) and also attended the Sunday School. Frank had three brothers - Edgar, John and William - and two sisters - Ada and Nora. A descendent of Frank's informs this website that he worked at Saddleworth Railway Station for the London & North Western Railway Company until he enlisted. However, he is not listed on the LNWR's Roll of Honour or amongst the Company's employees commemorated at a post-War service at St Paul's Cathedral. The Manchester City Battalion's Book of Honour lists a man called Frank Huxley, serving with the Royal Field Artillery, as being an employee of the Oak Tree Hosiery Company Ltd, 25/27 Dale Street, Manchester.

The 2nd East Lancashire Brigade of the artillery was a Territorial unit and Frank's service number, 1279, is a low one, suggesting that he was a pre-war "Saturday Afternoon Soldier". It is likely that he went abroad with the rest of 42nd Division in September 1914, within weeks of war being declared. They spent several months in Egypt before going into action at Gallipoli, in the late spring of 1915.

At the time he was killed, he was serving with the Brigade's 18th Battery, 3rd East Lancashire Brigade (although the War Graves Commission records him as still being attached to the 2nd Brigade, this did not leave Egypt). The Battery would have had about 200 men and was equipped with four 15-pounder guns.

As with most artillerymen, Frank was almost certainly killed by retaliatory shellfire from the Turkish army. Gunner Huxley is buried at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery which was created after the Armistice when bodies were brought in from isolated graves or small front line burial areas. At the time, Bombardier Harris wrote to the family "We are writing a few lines of sympathy with you in losing your son Frank. He was in "A" sub-section and all its members and everyone in the battery wish to express their sympathy with you. There were two or three of us about him when he was hit and you may rest assured he died a painless death. He was a good soldier and the life of the sub-section. He had a smile and a cheery word for everybody. We shall miss him for some time to come. He was buried in the military Cemetery close by, attended by all the officers and men of the battery. He had a nice burial service read over him by the military chaplain, Captain Hare. We are having a cross erected at the head of his grave with his name and number inscribed on it, also the day he died. We sincerely hope that you will be able to bear this great blow - but God knows best. Again expressing our deepest sympathy."

Frank's three brothers are thought to have served in the war and survived - Edgar with the Royal Flying Corps, John with the 1/4th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment and William with the Army Service Corps.

Updated: February 2008.

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