Thank You to Rory Paddock, for the following information, sent on 17/10/2016:-
Born in Bewholme, East Yorkshire in December 1897, Robert was the youngest of five children to George and Emma Franks. At the time of the 1911 Census he was already living away from home and working as a Horseman on a farm near Lowthorpe, Driffield. When war came, Robert was among the first to enlist in the fledgling Pals battalions, signing up on 24th September 1914, originally in the 12th EYR and later transferred to the 10th. He was underage. A mere 16 years old at the time. He must have told them he was 19 and they will have been only too happy to swallow his lie. Training throughout 1915, Robert shipped to Egypt that December and on to France the following March. A veteran of the Somme, Oppy Wood and the Spring Offensive, Robert was badly wounded during July and evacuated to the hospital centre at St Omer, where he died of wounds, on 29th July 1918. He is buried at Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery; he was 20 years old. It was a second blow for George and Emma Franks. They had lost their fourth son, James (29655 in the 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment) on 22nd March 1918 as his unit was overrun by the German advance. His body was never recovered and his name is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial which bears the names of 14,000 UK servicemen with no known grave who died between 21st March and 7th August 1918. James was 22 years old. The loss their mother, Emma, endured was all the more so, because her husband, George Robert had died in 1917. He was buried Nunkeeling on 19 Dec 1917. Robert Percy also had three younger siblings, whom Emma then had to support and raise as a widow: Harold (b. 1903); Ernest b. 1905); and Arthur Henry (b. 1912).
Despite their different birth years and along with a third brother, George Alfred, who was born at Bessingby in 1893, James and Robert Percy FRANKS were baptised at Nunkeeling on the same date: 22 Oct 1899. George Alfred FRANKS also saw action on the Western Front during WW1, but with the New Zealand Army, and he survived.
The NZ connection stems from the fact that two of the brothers’ great-uncles, from Ganton, George FRANKS (1835-1908) and John FRANKS (1837-1922) emigrated there in the 1860s. George Alfred was working on a farm at Leven, west of Hornsea, at the time of the 1911 census and moved to NZ sometime thereafter. The family must have stayed in touch, because he nominated one of his Kiwi cousins as next-of-kin at the time of his enlistment. Two NZ-born cousins are also known to have served in WW1. Brief details follow and WW1 NZ Army records are available online via the ‘Archives NZ Archway’ website:https://archway.archives.govt.nz/BriefDescItemSearch.do .
32443 Private George Alfred FRANKS (1893-1970) attested into the NZ Army on 27 Jul 1916 and joined the 1st Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment. He was wounded in action on 7 Jun 1917 (gunshot wound to the right arm, causing a severe fracture), probably during the initial assault of the Battle of Messines, 7-14 Jun 1917. George Alfred spent time recuperating at Brockenhurst in Hampshire, the location of a wartime NZ military hospital, before returning to his new home in Nov 1917. He was discharged from the Army on 28 Feb 1918 as being ‘no longer physically fit for war service’.
34562 Trooper John Frederick FRANKS (1882-1952). Son of John FRANKS (1837-1922). John Frederick joined the Canterbury Mounted Rifles and spent his wartime service in the Middle East. He was based in Egypt and reverted in rank at own request down from Sergeant, probably to see active service rather than undertake instructor duties, as the ME was used as a major training area for ANZAC forces. He is recorded as having been ‘in the field’ on a number of occasions, including during the period of the 3rd Battle of Gaza (aka Battle of Beersheba), 31 Oct – 7 Nov 1917.
3/1383 Private Spencer Franks CARVER (1899-1974). Grandson of George FRANKS (1835-1908). Spencer Franks served with the NZ Medical Corps and was at the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) where, on 12/13 Oct 1917, he earned the Military Medal for ‘conspicuous gallantry in action’ as a stretcher-bearer with No. 3 Field Ambulance. He had given a false age on enlistment and was still only 17 at the time (b. 3 Nov 1899). Coincidentally, the CARVER family also came from Yorkshire (Northallerton).