Brothers in Arms – Part One: Frank

Frank Gosson. Photo: Australian War Memorial.

 

FRANK Gosson was born in Kempsey in 1895 and lived there with his parents, four brothers and two sisters before they moved to Macksville where brother, George, was born.

After leaving school Frank worked as a labourer.

When war broke out Frank presented himself and became a member of the Australian Imperial Force in May 1916.

Basic training was at Cootamundra.

This would, as the name suggests, cover the basics.

Rifle and bayonet practice and lots and lots of marching.

From here Frank went to Goulburn Camp for the remainder of his basic training.

The troops were then divided up for specialised instruction in the units they would be assigned to.

For Frank, this was with the Light Trench Mortar Battery.

This was an effective weapon that could be fired from the safety of a trench.

This would take a further 11 weeks.

On 25 October 1916 Frank boarded HMT Ascanius at Sydney.

This would be the last time he would see his native land.

The troopship made its way to England, a trip that would take two months. They arrived three days after Christmas.

From here it was straight to advanced training at Wiltshire.

After just over a month here, Frank was transferred to the 33rd Battalion.

It was during this time that he developed cellulitis of the leg which required an operation.

It would be two months before Frank was fully recovered.

On 23 July 1917 Frank boarded a transport at Southampton bound for France.

On arrival he was sent to Rouelles for two weeks and from here set off to join his Battalion.

The 33rd were in Belgium when Frank arrived but soon marched to a camp well behind the lines in France for rest and training.

At this time, they were well supplied.

On one August night they could have boiled meat, mashed vegetables, onion sauce, boiled rice and raisins, biscuits and tea for dinner.

After marching to several other camps and even more training, the battalion arrived at the front on 29 September.

The area they were sent to was an unknown and unpronounceable place to the men at the time, but it would never be forgotten by those that came after.

Passchendaele.

Frank was a scout at this time, his job was to run ahead of his battalion and check for dangers.

The German artillery war at this time was incessant.

On the night of 13 October, Frank had settled in a shell crater to try and get some sleep.

A shell landed next to him, and he was buried in the explosion. He was killed instantly.

He had been at the front for just two weeks before his life was cut so tragically short.

For more information, interested readers can contact Mark at the Wairarapa Archive at [email protected].

 

By Mark PACEY, Wairarapa Archive

 

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