Above: This photograph of Frank Hornby shows him in the 1914 Premiership winning Pakenham Football Team. Courtesy of Graham Treloar and BPHS.
Sergeant Francis O’Connor Hornby
Pakenham & District War Memorial
Born: 2 October 1892 - Albert Park, Victoria
Enlisted: 25 February 1916 aged 24
Unit: 46th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement (SERN: 4558)
Served: Western Front
Died: 1960 - Gardenvale, Victoria
Francis was the son of Ernest Arthur Hornby and his wife Ellen (Nellie) Peppard. Sometimes his surname was mistakenly recorded as “Hornsby”. Prior to enlisting on 25 February 1916, Francis was a farmer with a 30 acre property on the Pakenham - Gembrook Rd (near Mt Shamrock Rd), part of which was planted with an orchard (1). Francis had also played football for Pakenham, including in the 1914 premiership wining team (2). After enlisting, Francis was assigned to the 46th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement at Geelong before embarking for England. He was appointed as a temporary Sergeant for the duration of the voyage. Following further training in England, Francis joined the 29th Battalion in France in September 1917. Just a week later, on the 26/27 September, he was wounded in action, sustaining a gun shot wound to his chest and right shoulder. Invalided to England, Francis only rejoined his unit in France in early 1918. In July, he was appointed as temporary Corporal. Later, Francis was transferred to the 32nd Battalion, but reverted to the rank of private in November 1918 as he was excess to establishment. Francis later obtained non-military employment on an orchard in Worcester before being repatriated to Australia in August 1919 (3). He was officially welcomed back to Pakenham with a number of other returned soldiers in October 1919 (3a).
In 1920 Francis sold his Pakenham property to the Closer Settlement Board for soldier settlement. It was later acquired by Wallace Black (4). Francis was for a time a “gripman” living in South Melbourne (5) Later, he operated a garage in Mansfield. In 1931, he married Florence Ellen Hehir. Florence had previously been married to Michael Hehir, brother of John Hehir, a Pakenham Digger killed during WWI (6). Francis and Florence appear to have been keen golfers (7). The couple left Mansfield in 1938 when Francis purchased a business in Melbourne (8). Francis was a confectioner in Richmond in the early 1940s and later a public servant living in Elsternwick (9). He died in 1960.
(1) & (4) PROV VPS5714/P0 Unit 2493 Item SC25 - Wallace Moncrief Black
(2) Berwick Shire News 1/7/1914, p.2 .
(3) NAA B2455, Hornby F 4558
(3a) Pakenham Gazette 17/10/1919 p. 3
(5) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - Melbourne Ports - South Melbourne 1924 p. 49
(6) Information sourced from ancestry.com
(7) Argus 8/10/1934 p. 14
(8) Argus 29/7/1938, p. 10
(9) Ancestry.com.au - Electoral Roll - Balaclava- Elsternwick 1954 p. 111