Drummer Frank HALLAM


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
1/6th Battalion
Service Number:
2142
Date of Death:
22 July 1915 - Killed in Action
Age:
19
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
Sp. Mem. E. 23.

Personal History:
Frank was born in Harpur Hill, Buxton on 3rd November 1895, the son of Peter James (Gardener) and Sarah Lavinia Hallam (née Eyre, who married in the December quarter 1892) In 1901 (Census RG 13/3269) Frank was living at 57 London Road, Buxton with his parents and two older sisters, Eva and Dorothy and a younger sister, Gladys.
The family later had four more children, sons, George and Cephus, and daughters, Rosey and Margaret. In 1914, when Frank joined up, and up to 1919, the family was living at 32 Hillside Terrace, Nunsfield Road, Fairfield, Buxton. (Frank's father, Peter Hallam, was killed in 1925 on Fairfield Common on his way home from work on his bicycle. A stick became lodged in the spokes and he fell under the wheels of a bus) At the time of his enlistment Frank was working as a Labourer for Buxton Council. He was 5' 5" tall (1.65 m.) and was said to have 'Good' physical development and 'Good' vision. According to his Service papers Frank did not marry, nor did he have any children.

Military History:
Frank enlisted into the 6th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) at Buxton on 6th March 1914. His terms of service were for four years on active service. He was appointed a Drummer on 16th September 1914. His Medal Card shows he entered France on 25th February 1915 and on the 12th May 1915 his Battalion became part of the 139th Brigade in 46th (North Midland) Division. He was killed in action in the field 145 days after entering France on 22nd July. In total he had served just 1 year 139 days with the Regiment.

In July 1915 the Battalion returned to Sanctuary Wood and took over trenches A8-A12 and B1-B2 from the 5/Sherwood Foresters and there they remained until the 27th July. The Germans in this sector were very active and often dug new fire trenches or advanced posts. The front line trenches in this sector were very close, often only several yards apart, and it was important to maintain the upper hand in this sector. The War History of the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters describes an incident in which opposing machine gun points were only 3 yards away! The Germans only occupied their post during the evening and it soon became a point of honour for the Sherwood Foresters to visit the post before it was occupied and remove any available souvenirs. Becoming wise to this the German's began to conceal booby traps in interesting booty, however by setting their own bombs the Foresters scored first .

Evidence from the War Diary gives the circumstances prevailing at the time of Frank's death. As the 6th Sherwood Foresters continued to hold the front line in and around Sanctuary Wood they suffered a continuous stream of trench casualties who were buried either just behind the firing line in Maple Copse, which was the site of an advanced dressing station and became the primary cemetery for 6th Sherwood Foresters trench burials.

The Battalion History records that during this trench duty six men were killed or died of their wounds; 2142 Frank Hallam from Buxton, 1301 Alfred Gent from Chesterfield, 2980 William Eyre and 2859 Harold Buxton from Clay Cross, 1575 William Cartledge from Monsal Dale and 894 Arthur Edward Read from Matlock who was killed a shell bursting in the trench. In addition the Battalion suffered 12 wounded (2 of whom later died). On the 29th July the Battalion were relieved and returned to their bivouacs.

On the 7th August 1915 'The Buxton Advertiser' re-printed a letter received by Frank's mother from Lt. Col. G. D. Goodman, C.O. of the 6th Battalion, dated 22nd July 1915 which said:

"It is with very great regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son, Drummer Frank Hallam, who was killed in action this morning. He was very much liked by both Officers and men of the Company. It will be some consolation to you and his father to know this.

Your son was buried this afternoon in a little soldiers' cemetery at the corner of a wood. His Company Officers and some of his friends besides myself were present. A cross with inscription will be placed over his grave."

Lt. Col. Goodman concluded with his expressions of sympathy. It is quite unusual for the Battalion Commanding Officer to write such letters, usually left to Company Commanders - perhaps a measure of Frank Hallam's esteem within the Battalion.



Sources:
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 30 October 1915
· I am grateful to Frank's niece, Mrs Mitchell, of Buxton, for additional personal information
· "Chesterfield Sherwoods on the Somme" - 1/6th (Territorial) Battalion, Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)
· "Men of the High Peak: A History of the 1/6th Battalion the Sherwood Foresters 1914-18" - Capt. W D Jamieson (ISBN-10: 0952964864)      
   Miliquest  Publications (1 Oct 2004)


Link to CWGC Record
Dr. Frank Hallam's Grave
Dr. Frank Hallam
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