1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Pte 25705 Frank Ainsworth
- Age: 21
- From: Chester
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 18th Btn
- K.I.A Saturday 1st July 1916
- Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
Frank was born in the March quarter of 1895 at 29 Talbot Street, Chester under the surname GANDY to Edward Gandy an iron turner by profession and his wife Martha Jane (nee Woollam) who married in Chester in the June quarter of 1886.
Frank was the fifth child of 14 children, he had two elder sisters and two elder brothers. The family suffered the loss of children who died in their formative years. His younger sister Frances May Gandy born June 1896 quarter died March 1899 quarter. Another younger sister Dorothy Gandy born December quarter 1897 died September 1898 quarter. Whilst his younger brother Edward Arthur Gandy born September 1898 quarter was either stillborn or died soon after birth in the same September 1898 quarter.
The 1901 Census shows the family living at 12 Chapel Lane Chester. Frank Gandy aged 6 and a scholar is living with his parents and 6 siblings
at 12 Chapel Lane Chester.
His father's self completion of the 1911 Census at 40 Tarvin Road Chester, describes himself as an engine turner, having three children who died pre 1911 as per above findings but he declares he only had 13 in total. Yet,other family trees on Ancestry, have 11 children, but these do not mention the three children who sadly died so it could be 14 children in total. Frank Gandy now aged 16 is shown as a butcher's apprentice.
On 18 January 1915 Frank appears to have enlisted in Liverpool, though his Attestation papers appear not to have survived. It is not clear which surname he enlisted as Private 25705 in the 18th battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment, either Ainsworth or Gandy. However, the Army appear to have been aware, since his Soldiers Effect Record at Preston shows him under Frank Ainsworth AKA Gandy.
On 30th April 1915 he and his 18th Battalion left Liverpool via Prescot Station and went to Belton Park Camp, Grantham for training, then in September 1915 to Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain.
On 07th November 1915 they travelled to Folkestone to catch the 2.30 p.m. sailing of SS.Invicta to France as part of the 21st Brigade stationed at Candas. he 18th saw their first action on 29th January 1916. Following this the Brig. Gen. of the Division sent the 18th Battalion a message.
" Well done 18th Liverpools Corps, Very Pleased."
The 18th lost a number of men fighting in February 1916
The 18th had one more short tour in the line without incident, before 30th June 1916.
Then, during the Battle of Albert (part of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme) whilst attacking Montauban, Frank was killed in action on 01st July 1916 aged 21.
At 6.30am the artillery commenced an intensive bombardment of the enemy’s trenches. Zero Hour – 7.30 am – the battalion commenced to leave their trenches and the attack commenced. The attack was pressed with great spirit and determination in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun enfilade fire which caused casualties amounting to 2/3rds of the strength of the Battalion in action. The whole system of German trenches including the Glatz Redoubt was captured without any deviation from the scheduled programme. Consolidated positions and made strong points for defence against possible counter attacks.
Graham Maddocks provides more detail concerning the events of the day:
As the first three waves began to move forward towards the German reserve line, known as Alt Trench and then on to the Glatz Redoubt itself, they suddenly came under enfilading fire from the left. This was from a machine gun which the Germans had sited at a strong point in Alt Trench. The gun itself was protected by a party of snipers and bombers, who, hidden in a rough hedge, were dug into a position in Alt Trench, at its junction with a communication trench known as Alt Alley. These bombers and snipers were themselves protected by rifle fire from another communication trench, Train Alley which snaked back up the high ground and into Montauban itself. The machine gun fire was devastating and it is certain that nearly of the Battalion’s casualties that day were caused by that one gun.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Henry Trotter wrote in the conclusion of his account of the days action:
I cannot speak to highly of the gallantry of the Officers and men. The men amply repaid the care and kindness of their Company Officers, who have always tried to lead and not to drive. As laid down in my first lecture to the Battalion when formed, in the words of Prince Kraft:
“Men follow their Officers not from fear, but from love of the Regiment where everything had always and at all times gone well with them”.
Joe Devereux in his book A Singular Day on the Somme gives the Casualty Breakdown for the 18th Battalion as Killed in Action 7 Officers and 165 men and of those who died in consequence of the wounds 3 Officers and 19 men a total of 194 out of a total loss for the four Liverpool Pals Battalions of 257.
Frank's body was not recovered from the battlefield or was subsequently lost, his name is recorded as F AINSWORTH on the Thiepval Memorial Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Pier & Face 1D 8B & BC
His Soldiers effects record as Frank Ainsworth shows the Army knew of his two surnames as it records Frank Ainsworth AKA Gandy.
His Pay of £3: 6s :9d and Effects were sent to his father Edward Gandy in February 1917 along with a War Gratuity of £5 in June 1919 and presumably his 3 medals of entitlement.
Grateful thanks are extended to Alan Chapman for the detailed biography