Rank: Private
Number: 4129
Unit: 1/5th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 2 October 1916
Age: 26 (based on 1901 Census information)
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Frank lived with his wife on Bank Street, Cheadle and had worked as a gardener for John Whittaker of Cheadle Hulme.

He had enlisted in November 1915 at Chester. The Battalion had originally been formed as a normal fighting battalion, but, by the time Frank joined, it had been converted to a Pioneer Battalion. Its primary role became construction, rather than fighting, although the men would still participate in attacks. This change had not been popular.

Frank probably went on active service in the middle of 1916, as one of many replacements for those killed and wounded in the fighting on the Somme during July. Still in the same area, the Battalion had been in reserve but moved into forward positions, south of the village of Montauban, on 30 September. They were digging new assembly trenches and strong points in preparation for another attack.

After his death, his company officer wrote to his widow "It may be of some consolation to you to know that his death was painless - being killed instantly by a bursting shell. He was carefully buried behind the lines by his comrades."

Frank was one of ten members of the Battalion who died that day. Five are reported to have died of wounds - which would normally mean they were evacuated from the trenches and received medical attention. All have a known grave just "behind the lines". Frank is one of five reported to have been "killed in action" - normally meaning killed outright. - which means Frank's officer may have written a kindly letter to his widow, than what may have been the blunt truth  that, having been hit by a shell, there was little left of Frank to bury.

(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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