Frank Lacey SWEET

Poppy

SWEET, Frank Lacey

Service Number: 7311
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion
Born: Boonah, Queensland, Australia, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Gayndah, North Burnett, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 27 September 1917, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Boonah War Memorial, Gayndah District HR, Gayndah War Memorial, Murgon Memorial Wall, Murgon RSL Honour Board, Murgon War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

24 Jan 1917: Involvement Private, SN 7311, 16th Infantry Battalion
24 Jan 1917: Embarked Private, SN 7311, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ayrshire, Sydney

Narrative

Frank Lacey Sweet #7311 15th Battalion

Frank Sweet was born in Boonah to parents Frank and Ellen Sweet. There is no recording of Frank’s schooling and it is open to conjecture as to when the family moved to Gayndah.

Frank enlisted in Maryborough on 26th October 1916. He was 24 years old and gave his occupation as grazier. Frank named Miss Mary Anne Marsh of Gayndah as his next of kin. Mary Ann and Frank were engaged to be married and between his enlistment and departure for overseas, the couple did in fact marry.

Frank was drafted as part of the 24th reinforcements for the 15th Battalion and embarked on the “Ayrshire” in Sydney on 24th January 1917. He landed in Devonport in April of 1917 and spent the next three months in a training camp at Codford before sailing from Southampton for France and finally to Belgium. Soon after joining his battalion near Messines, Frank had his first taste of the front when the 15th relieved a sister battalion in the front line.

The 15th Battalion spent several weeks at the end of August 1917 in rest areas where the men enjoyed the baths at Neuve Eglise before moving on to the shooting ranges at Predefin in preparation for going back into action.

On 27th and 28th of September, the 15th along with two other battalions from the 4th Brigade successfully attacked and held German positions at Zonnebeke just to the east of Ypres; however casualties were significant. Frank Sweet was listed as Killed in Action.

There is no record of a burial and no trace of Frank was found at the end of hostilities. Frank’s widow, Mary Anne, was granted a widow’s pension of 52 pounds per year, but the payments would have ceased once she remarried. When medals were being distributed, Mary Anne under her new surname could no be traced. Frank’s mother eventually took possession of the medals in trust, pending a claim from Mary Anne; which according to the records never happened.

Frank Sweet is commemorated on the stone tablets of the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres. He is listed alongside 50,000 soldiers of British Empire who perished in Flanders and have no known grave. The citizens of Ypres each evening conduct a remembrance ceremony under the arch of the Menin Gate to honour their sacrifice.

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