Frances Henry CASSELLS MM

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CASSELLS, Frances Henry

Service Numbers: 278, 278A
Enlisted: 4 March 1916, Cairns, Queensland
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 4th Machine Gun Company
Born: Mount Morgan, Queensland, 25 June 1898
Home Town: Charters Towers, Charters Towers, Queensland
Schooling: Charters Towers Boys Central State School
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of Wounds (GSW multiple), France, 21 August 1918, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Plot V, Row B, Grave No. 17
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

4 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 278, Cairns, Queensland
1 May 1916: Embarked Private, SN 278, 12th Machine Gun Company, HMAT Clan McGillivray, Brisbane
1 May 1916: Involvement Private, SN 278, 12th Machine Gun Company
30 Jul 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 12th Machine Gun Company
11 May 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 4th Machine Gun Company
20 Jul 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 4th Machine Gun Company
17 Aug 1918: Wounded Corporal, SN 278A, 4th Machine Gun Company, "The Last Hundred Days", GSW (Right thigh, leg, feet, arm and chest)
21 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 278A, 4th Machine Gun Company

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Biography contributed by Paul Trevor

Awarded the Military Medal (www.awm.gov.au)

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations near VILLERS BRETONNEUX on 3rd May, 1918. When the infantry were compelled to withdraw and three of his gun team had been wounded thus losing the gun and gear, he went out alone to within a few yards of the enemy and recovered his gun and and bought it back. He returned a second time and recovered his tripod and spare part wallet. Throughout the attack he displayed wonderful coolness and initiative.' SOURCE: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 15 Date: 4 February 1919.

For the gallant action and part that 278A Cpl. Frances Henry Cassells displayed in the above incident, he was initially to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) (www.awm.gov.au), but this was later down-graded to the Military Medal by Major-General E. G. Sinclair-Maclagan, 4th Australian Division.

"CASSELLS, Francis Henry, M.M. Corporal, No. 278 A, 4th M.G. Batt. Was born at Mt. Morgan, and educated at Charters Towers. Son of the late John Cassells and Mary Ann Cassells, of Selwyn. Enlisted from North Qld. February, 1916, and sailed from Brisbane 1st May, 1916. Went to England to complete training, thence to France and into line. Through fighting, and was promoted to Corporal, and awarded Military Medal for bravery on field and great gallantry whilst under fire. Was wounded 19th August, 1918, at Villiers Brettoneaux, and died of wounds at 22nd Casualty Clearing Station, on 21st August 1918." - from Queenslanders Who Fought in the Great War. (nla.gov.au)

Cpl. Frances H. Cassells' nephew was 404933 Sgt. Francis John Cassells (/explore/people/622813) who served during the Second World War as a RAAF personnel attached to Royal Air Force, No. 109 Squadron (RAF). Sgt. Francis J. Cassells, 2nd Pilot, and a flight crew of seven others were killed in action on the 28 March 1942 somewhere over the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean.

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