Staniar, Frank (Jack)

Frank (Jack) Staniar, Driver 79759, “B” Bty. 47th Bde. Royal Field Artillery
Killed in action 5th December 1917 in Belgium, aged 22

 

EARLY LIFE

Son of James and Mary Ellen Staniar, of Macclesfield. Believed to have been named Frank Staniar but served as Jack.

In 1901, five-year-old Frank Stanier was living at 116 Great King Street, Macclesfield, with his widowed mother Mary, a draper, and twelve-year-old sister Gladys; all three were stated to have been born in Manchester. However, ten years before, in 1891, Mary and Gladys were living at Hough Road, Alderley Edge, and Gladys was said to have been born in Scotland. The birth of Frank/Jack cannot be found under either name.

 

WW1 SERVICE

Jack enlisted with the 10th Cheshire Regiment in Macclesfield on 1 September 1914 when he was still only nineteen years of age, receiving service number 13961; despite his young age he was appointed Lance-Corporal just one month later. In his service records Jack was described as 5 feet 5½ inches tall, weighed 124 pounds and had a 31 inch chest. He had blue eyes, auburn hair and a florid complexion, and named his sister, Gladys Staniar of 43 Beech Lane, Macclesfield, as his next of kin.

Jack requested a transfer to the Royal Field Artillery in February 1915 and was drafted to France with the 19th (B) Battery of the RFA in September of that year. He was granted ten days’ leave to the UK in June 1917 and was killed in action on 5 December 1917.

Jack’s death was reported in the Macclesfield Advertiser on 21 December 1917:

GUNNER-SIGNALLER J (JACK) STANIAR

News was received on Tuesday by Miss G Staniar, 43 Beech Lane, Macclesfield, that her brother, Gunner-Signaller J Staniar had been killed in action on the evening of December 5th. He was with two of his comrades, also signallers, when a shell fell beside them, killing all three.

His officer… says: “Gunner Staniar has left behind him a record of which his relatives may be proud. He had been with us over two years, and was an example of quiet bravery and duty done. He was very popular with all ranks, and neither officers nor men will forget the cheerful way he undertook his signalling duties, which are not too pleasant at times. We buried the three side by side, their graves marked by simple wooden crosses, and their exact position reported to the War Office…”

Gunner Staniar enlisted in the Cheshires just after the war broke out. He went through a course of training in various parts of the country, and was ultimately transferred to the RFA at Preston. Two years ago last August he went to France, and had seen much active service; and his letters home were typical of the British soldier, cheerful and confident. In civilian life he was clerk in the offices of the Globe Spinning Company, Macclesfield. He was a member of the Young Men’s Class of Townley Street Sunday School, and had a host of friends in the town…

His death was also reported in the Macclesfield Times on 28 December 1917:

EXAMPLE OF QUIET BRAVERY – RFA SIGNALLER KILLED

Miss G Staniar, 43 Beech Lane, Macclesfield, has received official confirmation of the death in action… of her brother, Gunner-Signaller Jack Staniar, Royal Field Artillery… Gunner Staniar was born at Alderley Edge 22 years ago, but had lived in Macclesfield since boyhood. He was educated at Mill Street Wesleyan School under Mr T H Hewitt, and was connected with Townley Street Sunday School and the Young Men’s Class…

According to his service records, Jack was originally buried close to where he fell, at Abraham Heights, Passchendaele, 1 mile north of Zonnebeke and 4¾ miles north-east of Ypres. After the war ended, his body was exhumed and reburied in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

 

COMMEMORATION

Driver Jack Staniar is buried in grave ref. XX. E. 12. in Tyne Cot Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Driver Jack Staniar, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, Driver Jack Staniar is commemorated (as Gunner Frank Staniar) on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials and on Christ Church School roll of honour.

 

NOTES

 

SOURCES

Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website

Macclesfield Advertiser: 21 December 1917
Macclesfield Times: 28 December 1917


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