This whole site is dedicated to the memory of Frank Hubert Wilson.
Frank was born in Birmingham in September 1879. At the time of the Great War, he was married and living at 1 Back of 33 Ashley Street. He joined the Territorial Force, signing up to the D Battery, 3rd South Midland Brigade RFA on 6 April 1915, becoming Gunner 2245. He was promoted to Acting Bombardier and put up his stripe on 22 May 1915, while in training at Rollestone Camp on Salisbury Plain. However, on 14 February 1916 he was put on an unusual charge of ‘General slackness at PT’, which led to the removal of his stripe and extra pay on 23 March of that year. Meanwhile he had moved with his unit to France as a reinforcement to 3rd South Midland Brigade RFA south of Armentieres.
By 4 June 1916 Frank was admitted to Wharncliffe War Hospital, Sheffield, the result of poison gassing. He was discharged from hospital on 14 June and given 9 days leave before returning to France.
14 July 1916 – the day on which Fourth Army struck a successful blow against the German second line in a night attack (The Battle of Bazentin Ridge) – saw Frank suffer a second injury. This time a shrapnel or shell fragment struck his hip, which led to him being discharged under King’s Regulations on 24 July 1916. Thus Frank Wilson’s wartime career of 1 year and 99 days, of which only some two months were spent at the front, came to an end. His hip wound and lung damage badly affected the rest of his life and his ability to work, although as a chain smoker he lived to a decent enough age of 77.
In 1940, Frank and his family had a lucky escape during Luftwaffe bombing of Birmingham when the house next door was destroyed, causing such structural damage to their Little Bromwich home that they were forced to move out for some months. He died in Birmingham in March 1956: the grandfather I never knew yet of whom I am immensely proud.