Francis Finniss GILBERT

GILBERT, Francis Finniss

Service Number: 5345
Enlisted: 1 April 1916, Adelaide South Australia Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Black Springs, South Australia, 15 March 1883
Home Town: Black Springs, Clare and Gilbert Valleys, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Lagnicourt-Marcel Nord-Pas-de-Calais France, 26 March 1917, aged 34 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Frank Gilbert has no known grave. He is listed on the Wall of Remembrance at the Australian National War Memorial France at Villers Bretonneux., Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Burra District WW1 Honor Roll, Burra Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

1 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide South Australia Australia
10 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5345, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT Ballarat (A70)
26 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5345, 27th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Surname: GILBERT; Given Names: Francis Finniss; Date of Birth: 15 March 1883; Date of Enlistment: 10 April 1916; Trade or Calling: Farmer; Birth Location: Black Springs; Address prior to enlistment: Black Springs; Photograph sent by: Mrs M R Wise (sister)
Source: State Records SA

Francis Finniss Gilbert enlisted on the 10th of April, 1916 in Adelaide and declared himself to be 33 years old and single. He also declared that his next of kin was his sister Mrs M R Wise as both his parents were deceased by the time he enlisted. He said his occupation was a farmer.

Francis, or Frank as he was commonly known by friends and family, was allocated to the 14th Reinforcements draft for the 27th Battalion. He sailed to Plymouth in England, from Adelaide and arrived there on the 30th of September, 1916. He was marched into the 7th Training Battalion in the Salisbury Plains where he completed his training before proceeding over to France on the 16th of November, 1916.

While working his way through the French countryside to join the 27th Battalion he was admitted to the 51st General Hospitial with Balanitis. This delayed Frank from joining his unit for a while, but he did so on the 8th of January, 1917.

In February, 1917 the 27th Battalion was located around the trenches near Flers and Frank, who was in D Company was rotated around the lines. Then in late February and early March, 1917 the Germans began to retreat from their lines to the Hindenburg Line as part of a consolidation of their front line.  Their strategy was to impose dealy on any Allied follow up.  By late March they had retreated around 13 kilometres and  villages of Lagnicourt and Noreuil  among others were defended as part of the dealying strategy.  This became known as "The Outpost Villages" campaign.

On the the 26th of March, 1917 the 27th Battalion using A and C Companies attacked the German line in-between the towns of Lagnicourt and Noreuil. By that afternoon the new line was held by B and D Companies of the 27th Battalion, including Frank Gilbert among their number.  Both companies faced heavy shelling from the Germans. As a result of the German shelling Frank Gilbert was, 'killed outright,'  before his body was removed from the trenches and buried behind the lines.

After the war, however, his grave could not be located and his name was listed on the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. He was aged 34 years old.

British War Medal: 44891

Victory Medal: 44381