George FRANK


FRANK, George

Service Number: 257
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 1st Light Horse Regiment
Born: Oswestry, Shropshire, England., 7 June 1895
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Maesbury School / Welshpool County School
Occupation: Apprentice Engineer in UK; Farmer in Australia
Died: Died of wounds, Alexandria General Hospital, Egypt, 10 June 1915, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Gundagai Anzac Grove War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

20 Oct 1914: Involvement Private, SN 257, 1st Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
20 Oct 1914: Embarked Private, SN 257, 1st Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Star of Victoria, Sydney
10 Jun 1915: Involvement Trooper, SN 257, 1st Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

George Frank was born in Oswestry on 7 June 1895 and was baptized at Holy Trinity Church the next month. He was brought up in Crumpwell, Maesbury where his father, George, was a horse breaker and dealer. His mother, Sarah Elizabeth was originally from Sussex. He was the eldest of six children with siblings: Dorothy, John, Alice, Gladys and Francis. George attended Maesbury School and then Welshpool County School. The family later moved to Park Avenue.

George H. Frank and Bessie [Sarah Elizabeth ] Frank lived at Grove Wold, North Richmond, New South Wales.

George began an apprenticeship as an engineer, working for his uncle with whom he was living at Holdford House Perry Barr, Handsworth, Staffs in 1911. Later in that year, in October, the family emigrated to Australia aboard the steamship ‘Orsova’ bound for Sydney. They lived in New South Wales where his father continued as a horse dealer and breeder. George had joined the 11 Light Horse in 1913 – a local militia of part time soldiers – but enlisted in 1 Bn Australian Light Horse on 24 August 1914 at Rosebury Park, NSW. At the time of his enlistment he was living at Mount Horeb, Adelong, NSW giving his occupation as a farmer and horse breeder – he seems to have given up on engineering and followed his father into farming. The battalion sailed for England via Egypt on 20 October 1914 on the ship HMAT Star of Victoria – however, at Egypt the ‘ANZACs’ were diverted to the Gallipoli campaign.

He had been wounded on 30 May. The battalion were at Monash Gully, one of the draws that led up from the beach at Anzac Cove. George was in a dug out when he was hit in the stomach by a stray bullet. He was evacuated but his condition was serious. The bullet had perforated his intestines and he soon had peritonitis. He arrived at Alexandria General Hospital in a coma and a prognosis of ‘condition as to recovery quite hopeless’. On 9 June he was operated on and his condition improved slightly but he died two days later on 11 June 1914. A post-mortem revealed that his gut had been pierced in seven places and his condition would have been hopeless from the start.

His father and mother wrote a number of letters to the Australian War Office asking for more details of their son’s death. They had heard that George had suffered for 20 days (it had been reported in the newspaper that George had been wounded on 22 May, rather than the correct date of 30 May) and had died whilst being operated on. The army authorities investigated and found that this was not so and that everything possible was done for him but his wound too bad. His father wrote again on 30 October 1915. He had still not had official notification of his son’s death which he needed to sort out the legal and financial affairs. George is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial and at St Oswald’s Church, Oswestry, where he had been a chorister. 

He is one of two Australian casualties of Great War remembered on the Memorial Gates  at the entrance to Cae Glas Park, Oswestry, Shropshire, England.