PRIVATE FRANK EDWARD JAMES FRANCIS

No 56978 10th Battalion (1st Rhondda Pals) Welsh Regiment.

The Francis family lived at 4, Clive Terrace, Montgomery where their father, Francis Francis worked as a fishmonger. There were three children, the eldest, Lily, born in 1891, followed by Frank, born in 1897, and Frederick, born in 1900. (Fred was also killed in World War 1, see below) The family was hit particularly hard during this period, as not only were the two brothers killed, but Lily’s husband was seriously injured, and their cousin, John Albert Morris, also lost his life. (see later) Frank enlisted with the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry in October 1915, aged 19. We have a copy of some of his original papers, and although the copy is not very clear, it shows that Frank was of very slight build—5’ 3” and with a chest expansion of 34” (160cm height and chest 86cm) Having first served in Ireland, he was sent to France where he was transferred to the Welsh Regiment. Whilst serving in France he became ill with pleurisy, and was treated in a hospital in Cardiff, followed by a short convalescence at home. He returned to France in the Spring of 1917. Soldiers kept in regular contact with their families, and the touching letter copied here, from Mrs Francis to Frank’s commanding officer, shows how anxious relatives became in the absence of news. This letter was written on the 15th August 1917, but sadly Frank had already been dead for 11 days. Private Frank Francis was killed on the 4th of August 1917, aged 21. He is remembered at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Panel 37. This memorial, in Belgium, lists the names of 54,406 casualties whose remains were never recovered.