Frank Tinsley Blower
Gunner Royal Field Artillery, ‘A’ Battery 121st Brigade
The area around Le Cateau in Northern France was fought over many times during the Great War. It was the site of one of the earliest battles of the war in August 1914, where Allied forces succeeded in slowing the German advance. In late 1918 the ground was still being fought over. It was a feature of WW1 that intense artillery bombardments would be followed by ground attacks, which rarely succeeded in holding any ground. On the night of 15 /16 October 1918, the 121st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery was subject to an intense gas bombardment at Troisville near Le Cateau. 12 officers and 100 other ranks were casualties, and the batteries were forced to evacuate their positions.
Among those killed was 19-year-old Gunner Frank Blower, whose had lived with his family at 56, Mole Street, before enlisting.
Frank Tinsley Blower was born in 1899, the second son, and one of four children, of Harry Blower, who was a motor car body maker, and of Mary Tinsley, daughter of a railway policeman – both of Frank’s parents were from Baschurch in Shropshire.
Frank’s army record has not survived He was part of ‘A’ battery, but personnel on the batteries would change very often due to casualties. Frank appeared on the ‘absent voters’ register in 1918 – which is odd as he was not old enough to vote. Frank’s mother Mary received a dependant’s pension of 5s per week.
Also on the absent voters list was Frank’s elder brother Edward, who served for three years in France in the Army Service Corps, which was responsible for keeping the army supplied with provisions. Edward survived the war, lived with his parents until their deaths, and in 1954, after retirement from his job as a stationer’s manager, emigrated to Australia accompanied by his sister Eveline, a nurse.