Dobson, Frank

Frank Dobson, Private 14526, A Coy, 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died 18th November 1915 at Ploegsteert, Belgium, aged 21

 

EARLY LIFE

Frank Dobson was born in March 1894 and baptised on 4 April 1894 at St John’s Church, Statham Street, Macclesfield, the son of Emily and Henry Thomas Dobson, a labourer of 3 Higginbotham Street, Macclesfield (now named South Park Road).

By 1901 the family had moved to 29 Duke Street and seven year old Frank lived there with his parents and siblings Ethel (16), Emily (14), Pollie (12), Walter (10), and half-brother Thomas Sherratt (19). Ten years later the family was at the same address and now included Laura Annie (14), Henry (11) and George Leonard (7). Frank had left school and was employed in the silk industry as a Swiss Embroiderer at A W Hewetson’s Albion Mills.

Frank was educated at Mill Street School and on 21st September 1908, whilst employed as an embroiderer, he enrolled at Macclesfield Technical College to further his education. He attended St John’s Church Sunday School and was a regular member of St John’s Bible Class.

 

WW1 SERVICE

Frank enlisted in Macclesfield on 4th September 1914, soon after the start of the war, and was sent for training with the 10th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment on 15th September. Frank’s army records describe him as 5 feet 7¾ inches tall, weighing 124 lb with a 31 inch chest, brown eyes and hair and a fresh compexion.

The Battalion embarked for France on 26th September 1915, arriving at Boulogne at 2am the next day. They travelled by train to Hazebrouck, and from there marched to Bailleul, arriving on 30th September. A final march on 3rd October took the men to Ploegsteert in Belgium.

Most war diaries only mention officers by name, but unusually the diary of the 10th Cheshire Regiment includes at least some names of the rank and file. The entry for 18th November reads:

Fine day enabling the work of repairs to be carried on satisfactorily. At 3.30pm trenches 124 and 125 were shelled for about 20 minutes. Some damage was done to parapet and dugouts. Pte DOBSON was killed and Pte CLARKE seriously wounded. Both of ‘A’ Company.

Frank’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 26 November 1915:

Information has reached Mr Henry Dobson that his son, Private Frank Dobson, has been killed in action. The sad intelligence was conveyed in a letter written by Sergeant A. Brindley, another Macclesfield soldier of the same regiment: “… the death of your son Frank … occurred on November 18th at 3.30pm. … he suffered no pain for he was killed instantly. His remains have been interred in Ploegsteert Wood along with other fallen heroes. A wooden cross will be erected over his grave…”

In his last letter home, Private Dobson stated: “We have been in the trenches since last Monday, and came out this morning. We are up to the knees in water in the trenches, and our platoon was in the worst. Anyhow, we had a dry dug-out. It took us all morning to cook breakfast.”

Private Dobson has two brothers in the army, Private Walter, 1/7th Cheshire Regt – who is now on his way to the Dardanelles – and Private Harry, 10th Cheshires. The last named enlisted when he was 15 and is now at the front in France.

 

COMMEMORATION

Private Frank Dobson is buried in Grave Ref. D. 14. of the Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Frank Dobson.

In Macclesfield, Private Frank Dobson is commemorated on the Park Green, Town HallSt Michael’s Church and St John’s Church war memorials.

 

NOTES

Brother of Walter Dobson (1/7th Cheshire Regiment) and Harry Dobson (10th Cheshire Regiment).


Comments

Dobson, Frank — 3 Comments

  1. Frank Dobson would have been my great uncle, his younger brother Harry (henry) Dobson was my grandfather, from the stories he told me when i was a child was that he was next to his brother when he was killed, he also had a bullet injury, my granddad signed up at age 15 and when it was discovered that he had lied about age to go to war with his big brother he was discharged, I have his papers from this,

  2. That’s very interesting. I checked, and your grandfather’s service records are available on Ancestry.
    Henry enlisted on 10th December 1914, joining the 10th Cheshire Regiment with service no. 18841 and stating that he was aged 19 years and 90 days (i.e. born 1895). He went to France with the British Expeditionary Force on 26 September 1915 and was sent back to England on 20th December for being under age. He was discharged from the army on 18th January 1916 for “having made a false answer on attestation”.
    I wonder whether he was found out when the newspaper printed that he enlisted at the age of 15?

  3. Hi, Frank Dobson was my great uncle, I wonder if anyone could let me have a little history on Henry Thomas, “Harry” Dobson, Emily Sherratt, my grandfather was George L Dobson,I have a little recollection of “Pollie” I think she lived on Bluebell Lane Macclesfield, I think (not sure) my have seen Walter Dobson at sometime, Thank you in advance Paul Dobson.

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