Frank Andrew JACKSON
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 8679
Unit: 17th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT (attached 90th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery
Date of Death: 1 July 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

In the late spring of 1882, Ralph Jackson married Sarah Ann Gibson at St Mary's Church, Cheadle. They would have at least four children. When the 1901 Census was taken, the family was living at 47 Hatherlow Lane, Hazel Grove where Ralph was noted as "living on own means", suggesting he was independently wealthy and had no need to work. It's understood he was a joiner by trade. The children listed on the Census were Ewart (then 15), Sam (12), Frank (9) and Ralph (7).

Little is known of Frank's life in the years between 1901 and the start of the Great War. As he grew up, he had developed a talent for reciting and used to give performances at local entertainments. When he left school, he had gone to work for James S Blair & Sons Ltd. This was a firm of carpet manufacturers with premises on Great Ancoats Street in Manchester. At the end of August 1914, Frank will have heard of a new recruiting drive for the army which would allow friends or colleagues to join and serve together. These new units quickly became known as "Pals Battalions" and Frank went off to the nearby recruiting office to sign up. He joined the second of the Manchester Regiment's Pals units and was assigned to No. 12 Platoon in "C" Company. Some details of the Battalion's recruitment and training can be found here.

In November 1915, Frank went overseas on active service with the Battalion. He was killed on the opening day of the so-called "Big Push" - the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

When news of his death reached his employer, Mr Blair wrote back to the family "He was a fine young fellow and it is sad to think he has gone. He was one of the nicest young men we had in our employ and I assure you I shall miss him very much. I hope you will be able to bear the thought of his loss."

At the time that the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, Mr & Mrs Jackson were living at Davenport Road, Hazel Grove.

Further information about Frank, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Hazel grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

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