Private Frank WINTERBOTTOM


Regiment/Service:
King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
(Formerly: The Leicestershire Regiment)
Unit:
9th Battalion
Service Number:
27926
(Formerly: 45531 The Leicestershire Regiment)
Date of Death:
10 December 1918 - Died (of wounds and illness)
Age:
41
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
887


Personal History:

Frank was born in January 1878 at 135 Greengate Street, Oldham, Lancashire, the son of Robert (Clerk - Cotton Mill) and Elizabeth (née Deardon) Winterbottom. (1881 Census RG11/4081)

Frank had an older brother, Firth, an older sister, Emma M., and two younger sisters, Florence and Miriam. In 1891 (Census RG 12/4081) the family had moved to 32 Sylvan Street, Oldham, where 13 year old Frank was working as a "Cotton operative".
Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3809) they had moved again to 79 Middleton Road, Oldham, and Frank was then working as a "Tailor's Shop Assistant". The 1911 Census (RG 14/30809) shows that Frank had moved to 410 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, Northumberland, to keep a "Confectioner and General Dealer" shop. His sister Florence and her daughter, Dorothy, aged 3, had moved with him.

Presumably, at some time in the next four years Frank moved to Buxton, and when he enlisted in 1915 he gave his occupation as "Baker" and his address as 85 Fairfield Road. He was 5 ft. 8 ins. (1.73 m.) tall and weighed 8 st. 7 lbs. (54 kgs.). His next of kin was his mother, Elizabeth, at 28 Kersley Steet, Oldham. [After the War Frank's parents had moved again to 21 Hathershaw Lane, Oldham.]

Military History:
Frank enlisted at Buxton on the 1st December 1915, being posted to the Army Reserve. He was mobilized on the 8th May 1916 and posted to the Army Service Corps two days later with the aim of him becoming an Army Baker. After a week's assessment, however, Frank was returned to Depot having "Failed the trade test" - presumably as a Baker.

A month later, on the 17th June 1916, Frank was posted to the 3rd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, a training unit that remained in the U.K. throughout the war. By May 1915 the Battalion was at Hull, for duty with the Humber Garrison. This posting lasted until the 22nd December when he sailed from Folkestone, landing at Boulogne on the 23rd December 1916 when he was transferred to the 12th Battalion, in France, but immediately transferred to the 1st Battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment, part of 12th Brigade, 4th Division, joining 'A' Company, in the field, on Boxing Day 1916. Whilst Frank was with the 4th Division it was engaged in The Battle of Arras (9th April - 16th May 1917); in particular The First Battle of the Scarpe, (9th - 14th April) and The Third Battle of the Scarpe. (3rd - 4th May), including the capture of Fresnoy.

On the 9th May 1917 Frank was admitted to the 12th Field Ambulance, in the field, suffering from Synovitis of the right knee joint. The following day he was moved to Le Tréport, 2nd Canadian General Hospital, for further treatment. He left Hospital on the 29th and on the 31st May 1917 Frank arrived back in England for further treatment and was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, another training unit that remained in the UK throughout the war. It had been based in Plymouth in 1915 before moving to Harwich in November 1917.

Around this time, however, Frank had been posted again - to Salonika, leaving on the 29th November 1917 and joining the 9th Battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment, on the 16th January 1918.

The 9th (Service) Battalion was formed at Lancaster in October 1914 as part of K3 (Kitchener's Third New Army) and came under the command of 65th Brigade, 22nd Division. After serving in France from September 1915, the Battalion moved to Salonika in October 1915.

The 22nd Division fought at the Battle of Doiran, 18th - 19th September 1918 and it was on the second day of this Battle that Frank received gunshot wounds to his left shoulder, which ultimately contributed to his death nearly three months later. On the 19th September Doljeli village was shelled and the Battalion suffered many casualties. At the end of the battle, the 9th King’s Own helped to chase the retreating Bulgarian Army. CWGC Records show a total of 58 Officers and men killed in action on those two days. All but 7 have no know grave and are commemorate on the Doiran Memorial.

Frank's Service Papers state that on the 10th December 1918 he "Died of wounds and dysentery" at No.42 General Hospital, which had wards especially for dysentery cases. In 1918 this was located at Uchantar, about 5 miles (8 kms.) northwest of Salonika city centre. He had served a total of 3 years 10 days with the Colours. Just after his arrival in Salonika Frank wrote a short will: "In the event of my death I leave the whole of my property and effects to my mother, Mrs Elizabeth Winterbottom, 206 Hollins Road, Oldham".

The causes of Frank's death were graphically described by the Hospital Medical Officer:

"The above named was admitted to No. 42 General Hospital 7 December 1918, on transfer from No. 67 General Hospital, as a case of Dysentery (Flexner), with shrapnel wounds of his left shoulder. He had been in the latter hospital since 26 September 1918 for the treatment of extensive shrapnel wound of the left shoulder and elbow, and while there, had contracted Dysentery. Diarrhoea, with the passage of blood and mucus, had commenced on 3 November 1918, and the Bacillus Flexner of Dysentery was isolated from the stools the same day.

On admission he was extremely emaciated, anaemic, and thin. His pulse was poor, and both heart and lungs were weak. There was no active dysentery. He rapidly became weaker and died at 12.05 a.m. on 10 December 1918.

Post-mortem examination showed the cause of death to be septic arthritis of elbow and pleurisy. There was also some dysenteric ulceration noticed in the intestines.

The wounds, from the effects of which he died, were received in action against the enemy : the dysentery was contracted under active service conditions."

Frank must be one of the oldest men commemorated on the Buxton Memorial. He joined up to cook
for the troops, but ended up dying a terrible death far from home. He is buried in Mikra British Cemetery,
close to where he died, long after the conflict had ended. The inscription on his headstone is intriguing -
one wonders who was the ".. another .." it was claimed he gave his life for!

Sources:
· I am grateful to Grant Tobin for the photo of Frank's grave (At the time the Cemetery was being renovated.)

Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
Frabnk Winterbottom's grave
poppy