Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 11555
Date of Death: 11 April 1916
Age: 25
Cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq

Frank Archer was the only son of Abraham & Elizabeth Archer, of 29 Hulme Hall Road (and later 22 Ravenoak Road), Cheadle Hulme. The 1901 Census shows he had two sisters: 15 year old, Elizabeth and his younger sister Ellen (12). Before the war, he was employed by William Graham & Co, shippers, Sackville Street, Manchester. A religious man, Frank was Assistant Secretary of the Cheadle Hulme Wesleyan Sunday School.

The Stockport Advertiser, reporting his death in the edition of 28 April 1916, said that Harry had joined up on 13 August 1914 – the first volunteer from Cheadle Hulme to do so.

He was in training for 10 months, leaving for the Dardanelles on 13 June 1915. His battalion went into the firing line immediately on landing and he took part in the Gallipoli operations at Suvla Bay. His unit was evacuated from there, to Egypt, in December 1915.

He went to Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) in March 1916. The whole of that month was spent getting into position and training for an attack on the Turkish positions near the Orah canal. The first of these attacks came at 5am on 5 April, with the King’s Own successfully driving the enemy out of its front line trench “at the point of the bayonet” with very few casualties. Breakfast was being eaten by 7am. 12 hours later, the Battalion was back in action again, capturing a further three enemy trenches.

On the 9th, they attacked again at 4.20 am on the enemy positions at Sannaujat. The Turkish troops were prepared for an assault and sent up flares. This enabled them to keep up accurate rifle and machine gun fire until 8 am. The attack was a failure, with 12 killed, 89 wounded and 91 missing.

During one of these engagements, Frank was severely wounded and did not recover. As with many of the men who died in this theatre of the war, the location of graves became lost during the course of the fighting and Frank is now commemorated as one of the 40658 names on the Memorial to the Missing at Basra.

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

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