Frank DANIELS
Rank: Private
Number: 49550
Unit: D Company, 5th Battalion SOUTH WALES BORDERERS
Date of Death: 30 May 1918
Age: 18
Cemetery: Chambrecy British Cemetery, Marne, France

Frank was born in Hazel Grove, the son of train driver, Alfred Daniels and Alice Daniels (nee McGrath). Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Heaviley, where they lived at 37 Great Moor Street, but later returned to 33 Napier Street, Hazel Grove.

He will have been conscripted into the army when he became 18 and cannot have been at the front for very long before he was killed.

The 5th Battalion of the Borderers was a Pioneer unit - comprised of men trained to fight but whose usual role was in the construction of defences. On 27 May 1918, the German Army launched the third and final phase of its spring offensive intending to make a determined drive towards Paris in the hope of finally breaking the Allies. As with the attack in March and April, it was devastatingly successful.

By the 30th, the Borderers would find themselves thrown into the desperate defence. At 4am, they moved off from camp towards Chambrecy where they were to dig a new trench line. As they reached the designated position, it was realised that there was gap in the Allied front line between the British and French forces. The Borderers were immediately told to plug the gap and act as infantry as their primary training had taught them. The position was held throughout the morning but they came under increasing enfilade machine gun fire as the Germans had worked round one of the flanks and it was decided to withdraw the line to a position of greater safety.

The Battalion's War Diary, at the National Archives, records that 11 men were known to be dead. Several more were missing and Frank was one of them. His body was not found until some considerable time after the War ended, when the battlefields were cleared as the land was returned to civilian use. Work parties would dig in likely places to try to discover the bodies of men in, say, the bottom of shellholes. When Frank's was eventually found, it was buried in the new cemetery at Chambercy where his grave is now tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Further information about Frank can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

   
           
   
     
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