My granddad ‘Fred’ was twelve when his mother died, and he had to go out to work.  His father and my Granddad had to support the family and a Mrs Jones who was rough and according to my granddad, a heavy drinker brought up the younger children.  None of us can imagine what it was like to loose your Mother as such a young age.  

In 1901 the census shows that Tommy my Granddads brother was aged seven and there were three older brothers living at home and a younger sister.  Tommy went to the local Church of England school at Hengoed how much schooling he had is unclear.  When Tommy was 17, he decided that he would embark on an adventure leaving his family and this country for pastures new.

Pastures New

On 17th April 1912, Tommy boarded the Themistocles at the Port of London.  The steamship was part of the Aberdeen Line, the Master A.H.H.G. Douglas there were 914 passengers on board bound for Brisbane, Australia.  There is a copy of the passenger list in photos under my documents.  Tommy was passenger number 363 listed on page 9.  His entry read Francis Thos, Farm hand aged, 17.  On that page there were 12 other Farm hands listed.  Whether he knew any of them prior to his departure, I do not know.  However, filled with excitement and looking forward to his new life he said his goodbyes and headed for the Port of London. Records show that he was living in North Queensland when W.W. 1 started. 

World War 1

Tommy enlisted at Townsville and became Pte. David Thomas Francis No: 2137 of the 15th Bn. Australian Infantry Force.  Sadly, he was killed in action on the 8th August 1915 at Dardanelles he was 20.  He is buried at ASIA 51 Haider Pasha Cemetery, Constantinople.  My granddad was listed as next of kin and informed of his brother’s death at 8 Ash Road, Oswestry.

Haidar Pasha Cemetery was opened first for the Crimean War burials and later used for the burial of Commonwealth prisoners of war during World War 1.  The war graves plot contains 405 Commonwealth burials of World War 1 60 of which were unidentified.  Does this suggest that Tommy was taken prisoner of war? Must try and do more research.

Informing the Family

The family were informed by Telegram that Tommy had died.  I am not sure why but my Grandad was at home at 8th Ash Road Oswestry, because he too was a serving soldier.  He had said he new instantly that his brother had died, he heard the gate swing open and then saw the telegraph boy.  None of us could imagine how that felt.  I do remember Tommy was talked about often and fondly and as a child I remember that his photograph hung on the wall in my grandparents living room.

Certificate of Death

Family Details

15th Bn Australian Infantry Force

This is a short piece of were by Great Uncle died with 15th Battalion, taken from Wikipedia.

"After this a period of stalemate fell across the peninsula. In early June, the 15th Battalion, its strength having fallen to below 600 men, was withdrawn from Quinn's Post to recuperate in a quiet sector known as "Rest Gully". Over the next two months, due to illness, the battalion's personnel were almost completely replaced. It received several drafts of reinforcements, amounting to over 500 men, including its transport element, and by early August it had reached a strength of 720 men.[14] On 6 August, the Allies launched an offensive in an effort to try to break the deadlock, during which the 15th Battalion attacked the Abdel Rahman Bair heights, which was known to the Australians as "Hill 971",[15] before later supporting the 14th Battalion's attack on "Hill 60".[1] Casualties were heavy, and on 13 September the battalion was withdrawn for a brief rest on Lemnos, its strength having fallen to just 11 officers and 136 other ranks.[16] They returned to Gallipoli early in November, occupying a position in Hay Valley, as winter began. They remained there until being evacuated on 13 December on the transport Carron, as part of the main Allied withdrawal.[17] The battalion's casualties during the campaign amounted to 10 officers and 380 other ranks killed, and one officer and 17 other ranks captured".[18]