Frank Taylor DAWSON
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 77439
Unit: 16th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 29 October 1918
Age: 34
Cemetery: Dottignies Communla Cemetery, Mouscron, Belgium

Frank was born in Bolton, the son of Mark and Hannah. For many years before the Great War, Mark had run a shop on Market Street, Marple. He had variously traded as a grocer, baker and china dealer. When the 1901 Census was taken, 16 year old Frank was working as a grocer's assistant, presumably in the family business.

In the early months of 1910, Frank married Esther Hayes in Prescot and they moved to the Brooklands area of Sale where Frank was working. Their address at the time is not known, but after the War, Esther was living at 7 Belgrave Road, Sale.

Frank was conscripted into the army sometime after the beginning of 1917 and was assigned to the 7th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers for his training. His service number at the time was 292026.

After severe fighting in March and April, the 16th Batalion had been reduced to only a few dozen men and was brought back to the UK to reorganise and refit. By early July, it had taken in nearly 800 new recruits, including Frank, and left again for France. The men would see some action over the coming weeks but casualties between July and the end of the War in November would be light. Unfortunately, Frank would be one of them.

On the night he was killed, Frank is believed to have been part of an advance party which crossed the River Scheldt in preparation for the continuance of the Army's final advances. Two platoons from each of "A" and "B" Companies crossed the river in two places and established outposts on the eastern bank. Five prisoners and two machine guns were captured. The Battalion was congratulated for the work by the Divisional Commander, Major-General Skinner. Frank was among the five Manchesters who had been killed in what was described as a "minor operation".

They would prove to be the last men from the Battalion to be killed in action in the War.  Since its arrival in France in November 1915, over 600 had been killed, died of wounds or natural causes.

Further information about Frank, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.

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