RFA West Lancs Bdes
680513 SGT. F. H. WHITEHEAD. MM. R.F.A.
Frank Holt Whitehead was born in the first quarter of 1890 in Ballysillan, Belfast, Co. Antrim. His father was Kay Holden Whitehead (b. 1863 in Bury), a commercial traveller. His mother was Clara Holt (b. 1864 in Crewe). Kay and Clara married in Bury in 1887 and they had 6 children, losing one in infancy. All of the children bar Frank were born in Bury so perhaps work took Kay and Clara briefly to Belfast in 1890. Frank’s siblings were: Harry (b. 1889), Marion (b. 1893), Percy (b. 1899) and Carrie (b. 1901). Some time between 1901 and 1911 the family moved to Penwortham and in 1911 they were living on Hawkhurst Road. Frank was an insurance clerk.
Frank must have been in the Territorials before the War. When he joined the Royal Field Artillery he was assigned service number 1910 and posted to “A” Battery of 276 Brigade. He was a gunner and he landed with his Division in France on 30 September 1915.
276 Brigade formed part of 55th (West Lancashire) Division. The Division landed in France on 29/30 September 1915. They fought at Guillemont and Ginchy (on the Somme) in September 1916, suffering severe losses especially at Guillemont. They also fought at Flers-Courcelette and Morval later that month. Some time during this fighting Frank distinguished himself and he was awarded the Military Medal, and he was later promoted to Sergeant. In 1917 he got a new-style service number, 680513.
In 1917, Frank fought with his Division during the Third Battle of Ypres and at the end of the year in the disastrous campaign at Cambrai. In April and May 1918, the Division was engaged in the successful defence of Givenchy. The attack was at its most intense between 9-18 April, after which it gradually slackened. During May, the Brigade remained near Givenchy but there were no more attacks and on 27 May they were relieved from the line and withdrew to bivouac at Bois des Dames. However, some time during this fighting, Frank was wounded and he died at 4th Canadian Casualty Clearing Station on 20 May 1918. He was 28 years old.
Service No: 680513
Date of Death: 20/05/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty, 276th Bde. Cemetery/memorial reference: I. F. 14.
Cemetery/Memorial: PERNES BRITISH CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Kay Holden Whitehead and Clara Whitehead, of Penwortham, Preston, Lancs.