Frank WATERS
Rank: Private
Number: 204428
Unit: 1/5th Battalion SHERWOOD FORESTERS
Date of Death: 17 October 1918
Age: 28
Cemetery: Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France

The Waters family had lived at 100 Edith Terrace, Compstall for many years. John Waters was a cotton spinner at the nearby mill and, in due course, became a local councillor. He was married to Sarah and they had eight children - all living at home when the Census was taken in 1901. Frank was the fourth child and was then aged 11.

The family worshipped at the Wesleyan Church and much of Frank's social life centred on its activities and, as an adult, on the Conservative Club. He was keen sportsman, playing football in winter and, in the summer, as a member of Compstall Cricket Club. Before he enlisted into the army, he was working as an overlooker at the mill. By then, he was a married man. His wife was Eva Froggatt and they had married in the closing months of 1913 at St Paul's Church, Werneth.

It's not known exactly when Frank joined the army but it was not early in the War. His service number was not issued until sometime after the beginning of 1917, so he may not have been overseas on active service for very long before he was killed. By then, the War had less than a month left, although the troops on both sides could not have known that. There was stiff fighting still going on, although the British were now on the attack constantly. On the 17th, a further advance was made against German positions near the village of Regnicourt. Two companies were held in reserve and do not appear to have gone into action but will have been targets for German shellfire. The other two companies were attached to the 8th Sherwoods and attacked in the morning. Frank was amongst them. 2nd Lieutenant F D Hoyle wrote to Eva to tell her what had happened:-

"It is my painful duty to acquaint you with the sad news that your husband was killed in action during some operations with the Sherwood Foresters on the 17th of October. It may be of some consolation to you to know that his death was instantaneous. It occurred on the morning of the 17th October. We were fired upon by an enemy machine gun which claimed your husband as one of its victims. I cannot express to you how sincerely I feel his loss and sympathise with you. I had not known him very long but in that short time I had come to respect his bravery and cheerfulness which made him such an asset to his platoon. All the officers and men of the company join with me in heartfelt sympathy with you in your great loss."

The Battalion had attacked with just over 500 men. Frank was one of 33 to be killed. Another 192 had been wounded.

   
           
   
     
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