Oliver Frank

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Eifion & Viv Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Mold

Name / Enw: Oliver Frank

Regiment/Catrawd: 1st Bn,. Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 43615

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Green Dump Cemetery Memorial 4

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: France

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory and British War

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

He died on the 11th or 12th of January 1917 aged 26 on the Somme

The 1911 census tells us that the Oliver family lived at Islwyn, Blackbrook, Mold. The father Francis was 50 and was a tinplate worker. His wife Ellen was 53. They lived with their four children, Maria Elizabeth 29,  an assistant schoolmistress, John Francis was 20 and a clerk, Annie Foster (?) was 15 and did domestic work and William T Oliver was 11 and a scholar. The form tells us that a fifth child had not survived. (The family grave in Mold tells us that this was little Archibald who had died aged 2.)  According to the census, all had been born and bred in Mold.

Visit to Ancre British Cemetery in October 2010

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Ancre British Cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blonfield. It contains the graves of 1,205 known and 1,335 unknown servicemen. This includes 415 known men of the Naval Division

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Frank Oliver was one of a group of soldiers who had been killed in 1916 and 1917 and originally buried in ‘Green Dump cemetery’. Their graves were destroyed by subsequent shelling. Each of these men was given a new memorial stone and these stand together in a row. In addition a special memorial stone was placed close by, explaining what had happened

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43615 PRIVATE F OLIVER ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS 11TH JANUARY 1917 AGED 26 FOR OUR TOMORROW HE GAVE HIS TODAY

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The memorial stone bearing the explanation of what happened to the eight graves

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It was lovely to discover that someone else had sought Frank’s grave earlier in the year. A small remembrance cross had been left on 24th June 2010

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If Colin and Marilyn by some chance read this, we would be very grateful if they would get in touch with us via our Conatcts Page. We would love to learn more of Frank’s story

 


Oliver Family Grave in Mold Cemeter

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Archibald
Son of Frank and Ellen Oliver
Who died March 14th 1896
Aged 2 Years and 6 months
Also Pte John Francis Oliver (Frank) RWF
Son of the above
Who w

as killed in action January 12th 1917
Aged 26 years
Buried at Green Dump British Cemetery
Beaumont Hamel France
For your tomorrow he gave his today.

Also the above named
Ellen Oliver
who died April 8th 1932
Aged 73 years
“At Rest”
Also the above named

Frank Oliver
who died October 24th 1934
Aged 74 years
Thy Will be done

 

 

By the wonders of the internet we have been able to add a sequel to Frank’s story. The small wooden cross that we found by his grave in France had the names Colin and Marilyn written on it. We put out an appeal on this page and miraculously were contacted by Colin McClelland, the great nephew of Frank. He sent us the following e mail telling what he knew. Also, and wonderfully, he sent us a scanned photograph of Frank. We are very grateful to Colin for sharing with us all that he knows about his Great Uncle.

Hello Viv,
Many apologies for not replying sooner. One of the reasons I was interested in following up Frank`s story was the fact that nobody seemed to know much about him and he appeared to have been forgotten. So bearing that in mind, I will tell you how I first came across him and all that I can remember about him – vague as it is.
My first memory of Frank was when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I was living in Ayr, Scotland at the time and we used to visit my mother`s parents once or twice a year. They lived in London. My grandfather was called William Elliot Oliver and he was Frank`s younger brother by about 9 years. William had married Helen Elizabeth Cunnah. They were both from Mold but moved to London and had 2 children – Enid Maud (my mother) and Ronald.
On one of the trips to London I noticed a framed photograph on the mantlepiece of this well dressed young man and asked who he was. The reply was along the lines of `he is your Great Uncle Frank, your Grandpa`s brother and he died in WW1`. Childhood curiousity satisfied, that was basically the only information I had from them.
Fast forward about 20 years. My grandparents had retired and moved up to Scotland to live near us.
My grandfather died in 1973, followed a year later by my Grandmother. When we were clearing out their house I came across the picture of Frank and took it home with me. I had no particular idea what I intended to do with it and opened up the frame to remove the picture. I was surprised to find on the back of the picture the following information:-
`Frank Oliver. Age 26. Dec 31st 1916.
Killed in action Jan 12. 1917`.
As Frank was dressed in a suit, I imagine this picture was not taken in France. I can only assume he was home on Xmas leave and was sadly killed shortly after returning to the front.
That is all I knew about Frank until I visited his grave last year and discovered he lay in a secluded part of Ancre cemetary with some other members of his regiment after their original graves were damaged.  I am not sure when this happened.
Frank Oliver`s picture was returned to it`s original frame and it now resides on my mantlepiece. His great, great, great nephew was born in 2010 and is called Oliver!
I am sorry I have not been able to provide any detailed information on Frank`s life. Unfortunately, he died before my mother was born and so she knew anything about him. Very sad but an indication of those times I guess. I will try and scan his picture and the info on the back for you to use as you wish.
Regards and good luck with your web site,

Colin R McClelland.

(August 2010)

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Frank Oliver aged 26 yrs. 12 days after this was taken, he was dead.

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Back of the photograph