Frank Hill NODEN
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: 319th Siege Battery ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY
Date of Death: 3 December 1918
Age: 22
Cemetery: Stockport Borough Cemetery

Born on 12 July 1896 at 1 Lord Street, Stockport, Frank was raised in a successful middle class family. His parents were John and Martha Noden. John was a director of a cotton mill and Frank would later work as a clerk for an insurance company.

When the Great War started, the Nodens were living at “Methven”, Lyme Street. Frank was not an early volunteer for the army and joined up on 9 October 1915. Gunner Noden was given the service number 4166 and was assigned to 145th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. This was Stockport’s local Territorial artillery unit. His service papers still exist at the National Archives and these show Frank to have been quite tall for those days, standing at 5’ 10” and weighing 131 pounds.

He went overseas after completing his initial training and served with distinction as part of the gun crew. In the spring of 1917, he undertook a now unknown act of bravery for which he was awarded the Military Medal (London Gazette, 17 July 1917). Shortly after this, he applied to become an officer. His application was supported by a barrister Mr J Leigh and Mr S Hughes, an MP. His commanding officer also lent support saying Frank had “a good knowledge of mathematics” – a skill almost essential for an artillery officer. On 25 August, Acting Corporal Noden was accepted for admission to No. 1 Royal Garrison Artillery Cadet School at Trowbridge.

He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on 10 January 1918 and was assigned to 319th Siege Battery. On 16 March, the Battery was at Hollebeke, just outside the Belgian town of Ypres when they came under attack from the German heavy artillery firing gas shells. Frank was in command of an observation post and was exposed to the gas for a period of 4 – 5 hours. When he was relieved from duty, he was in a bad way and was vomiting. He was taken to a field hospital some miles away. From there, he was evacuated back to the UK on the 22nd and, by the 25th, had been admitted to Northumberland War Hospital at Newcastle.

By the summer , he had been transferred to the Officers Hospital at Eaton Hall, near Chester (the home of the Duke of Westminster). His condition was reviewed on 30 August and it was noted that he continued to improve but still had a troublesome cough.

Frank’s recovery was never complete, and by the end of November, he was in hospital in Catterick. He developed pneumonia and died on the 3 December of cardiac failure.

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