2ND LT. F. C. CLIFFORD. R.F.A.
Francis Clifford Aspinall (known as Frank) was born in the last quarter of 1895 in Hollinwood, near Oldham, and baptised at Chadderton Christ Church on 8 February 1896. His father was Lewis Aspinall (b. 1863 in Hollinwood), an accountant by profession. His mother was Frances Fowler (b. 1872 in Openshaw). Lewis and Frances were married in 1891 and they had seven children: Ivan George (b. 1892), Doris Emma (b. 1895), then Frank, then Ena Mary (b. 1903), Vera May (b. 1906), Eric Leslie (1907-1912) and finally Carl Duncan (b. 1909). The family moved from Oldham to Blackpool in about 1905 and in 1911, they were living at 8 St Chad’s Road, Blackpool. Then aged 15, Frank was still at school and presumably destined for a career in accountancy, like his father and older brother Ivan. The family later moved to 113 Park Road, Blackpool.
Frank probably signed up in the Royal Field Artillery Territorials when he was 17 and was assigned service number 1566 and posted to “B” Battery of 276 Brigade. He landed with his Brigade, and 55th Division, in France on 30 September 1915. He was now 19 and the following year he was promoted to Bombardier. He was given a new service number 680414. Some time in early 1917 he was sent for officer training and he was commissioned Second Lieutenant on 13 October 1917. He was not sent back to 276 Brigade though, as he was posted to 70th Brigade. 70Bde came under orders of 15th (Scottish) Division.
In early 1918, 15th Division were engaged in the first phase of the German Spring Offensive, the First Battle of Bapaume and the First Battle of Arras. In the summer they came under temporary French command and fought in the Battles of the Soissonnais and of the Ourcq including the attack on Buzancy, a phase of the Battles of the Marne 1918 (23 July – 2 August). Later 15th Division came back under British command and joined 55th Division as part of the Fifth Army which would join the Final Advance in Artois from 2 October until the Armistice.
Frank was killed in action on 17 September 1918. He is buried at Hersin which is not far from Givenchy where 55th Division was engaged in the defence of the line. I don’t know the precise circumstances of Frank’s death but on that part of the front at that time there was no major action but constant harassing fire by both sides and occasional infantry raids. Frank was still only 22 years of age.
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death: 17/09/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 70th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: III. D. 11.
Cemetery/Memorial: HERSIN COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
Additional Information: Son of Lewis and Frances Aspinall, of "Ingleside," 113 Park Road, Blackpool. Native of Hollinwood, Oldham.