Company Serjeant Major 106517, No. 3 Special Company, Royal Engineers, D.C.M. & Croix de Guerre (Belgium).

Died 9th April 1918, age 29.

Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Former student of chemistry.


John was born in 1889 at Chorlton-Cum-Hardy to Robert Frank, a commercial traveller, and Georgiana Batey, their youngest son. He was educated at Manchester Municipal Secondary School and entered Manchester University in 1906 on a three year scholarship gaining a B.S.c. Technology (Applied Chemistry) in 1908 and an M.S.c. Technology in 1909. He was then awarded the Schuster Research Fellowship and for a time was a lecturer and demonstrator before becoming an assistant to Dr Liebmann of Weybridge.

John enlisted in January 1915 and served with the 16th Battalion Middlesex Regiment before transferring to the Royal Engineers (Chemical Corps). Sent to France in August 1915 he was promoted to the rank of Company Serjeant Major in September 1916. In 1917 he received the Croix de Guerre and in 1918 was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for which the citation was: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He volunteered on no less than eleven occasions in one month to conduct parties carrying rations and supplies over a very much exposed area that was being heavily shelled by the enemy, to give emplacements in the front line. The fine example of courage and devotion to duty of this warrant officer had an excellent effect on the N.C.O.s and men of his company.” Initially posted as wounded and missing on 9th April 1918 near Armentieres, in France, close to the Belgian border he was later officially presumed to have been killed. He left effects worth £223 18s to his father.

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