Francis William (Frank) ROBERTS

Poppy

ROBERTS, Francis William

Service Number: 6874
Enlisted: 23 February 1916, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 21st Infantry Battalion
Born: South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 23 July 1888
Home Town: Hawthorn, Boroondara, Victoria
Schooling: Camberwell State School & South Melbourne College, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Orchardist
Died: Killed in Action, France, 1 September 1918, aged 30 years
Cemetery: Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension
Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension (Plot III, Row L, Grave No. 35), France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

23 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6874, 21st Infantry Battalion, Melbourne, Victoria
11 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6874, 21st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 May 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6874, 21st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Melbourne
4 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6874, 21st Infantry Battalion, Le Hamel - Blueprint for Victory
1 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6874, 21st Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne

WW1

The details provided are taken from the book "Stealth Raiders - a few daring men in 1918" written by Lucas Jordan, published 2017, refer to pages 274 and 285. Prior to the war he was an orchardist of Upper Hawthorn Vic. He enlisted 23rd Feb 1916 aged 27 years. He served with the 21st Infantry Battalion. Unfortunately, he was Killed In Action 1st Sept 1918. Rest In Peace. Lest We Forget.

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Remembering the battle of Hamel 04 July 2018 by Claire Hunter

On the afternoon of 4 July 1918, Private Frank Roberts of the 21st Battalion wrote in his diary bemoaning the life of an infantryman.He had just participated in one of the most successful engagements fought by Australians on the Western Front during the First World War, but the 30-year-old orchardist from Hawthorn wasn’t too happy about the early morning start and complained about being “loaded up like a mule”.

With 200 rounds of small arms ammunition, two Mills bombs, an extra water bottle, a shovel down the back, and a pannier for the Lewis gun, he lamented that it was “all hellish weighty” before going on to describe how his “knees knocked when the barrage opened”.

“After the start all trepidation vanished,” he wrote matter-of-factly. “Wonderful barrage put up … We caught glimpses of Fritz going for life. No return barrage and no machine-gun fire. An easy walkover. Slung my gun and stumbled across. Experiencing none of the ‘blood lust’… A most prosaic affair.”

It was, according to Australian War Memorial senior historian Dr Aaron Pegram, a remarkably relaxed account of what became known as the battle of Hamel 100 years ago.

“It was a little battle, that made a long-lasting impression on the sort of battles fought on the Western Front in 1918,” Dr Pegram said. 

“Lieutenant General Sir John Monash meticulously planned for the battle to last 90 minutes. It lasted 93 minutes, with all units involved in the assault taking their objectives, and the battle plans for Hamel became a model for future successes.” - READ MORE LINK (www.awm.gov.au)

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