Private Frank Spearman Waring +
Pakenham & District War Memorial
Born: c. 1891 - Kempston, Bedfordshire England
Enlisted: 13 August 1915 aged 24
Unit: 5th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement (SERN: 5231)
Served: Egypt & Western Front
Killed in action: 10 March 1917 - Flers, near Combles France
Listed on the Pakenham War Memorial as “F Wearing”, Frank was the son of Margaret Waring, who later lived on the Glenesta Estate, Aviswella Ceylon (Sri Lanka). When Frank enlisted on 13 August 1915, he was a 24 year old farm labourer working for James Chisholm of “The Meadows”, Pakenham East (1). Frank began the enlistment process in Pakenham, being assessed as fit for service by Dr Douglas White. This was later confirmed by an Army doctor in Melbourne (2). Frank spent the period August 1915 to March 1916 at the Castlemaine Army Camp, during which time he served in the “cook house” (field kitchen) and as an orderly to the camp commandant, Lieutenant Colonel James Semmens. While at Castlemaine, Frank met Harriet Nicholson of Chewton, and was “keeping company” with her until he embarked for overseas with the 5th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement in April 1916. He subsequently sent Harriet letters from the Front (3). After Frank sailed, a Miss Rushton of Pakenham East wrote to the Army seeking his address. Perhaps she had been a friend back in Pakenham? (4).
Frank disembarked at Suez on 11 May 1916. After some time with the 2nd Training Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir, he was assigned to the 57th Battalion, then proceeded to the Western Front. In August 1916, Frank was taken on strength with the 59th Battalion in France. As at Castlemaine, he was assigned to the “cook shop” (5). The 59th Battalion spent the winter of 1916/17 rotating in and out of the front lines (6). On the evening of 9/10 March 1917, the 59th Battalion relieved the 58th Battalion in the front line near Flers. On 10 March 1917, Frank was killed in action. He was subsequently buried in the Bulls Rd military cemetery, some 30 yards forward of Flers village and a bit over three miles north of Combles. Frank’s mother in Ceylon was notified of his death. She asked for further details, but was told that there was no additional information to hand. After seeing Frank’s name in the casualty lists in The Age newspaper, Harriet also wrote to the Defence Department seeking confirmation of his death. She also sought his family’s address so she could send them letters she had received from him (7).
Frank’s sacrifice was remembered by Dr White at the welcome home for returned soldiers held in October 1919 (8). Aside from the Pakenham & District Soldiers’ Memorial, Frank is also honoured at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
(1) AIF Project Entry for Frank Waring - https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=313980 - There, James Chisholm’s name is recorded as “J Chislam”.
(2) (3) (4) (5) & (7) NAA B2455 WARING FRANK SPEARMAN
(6) “59th Australian Infantry Battalion” - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/U51499
(8) PG 17/10/1919 p. 3