Frank’s parents Alfred Gheel and Clara Blythin married in West Derby in the June Quarter of 1895 (West Derby Vo. 8b, Page 479.
It seems that they made their home with Clara’s brother on the 1901 census at 56, Curzon Street, Saltney, Chester. The household consisted of Clara’s brother, William Blythin, 28 and a General Labourer, who like Clara had been born in Poulton, Cheshire. William’s wife Annie, 31 had been born in Ford, Northumberland. Their children, Florence, 4 had been born in Holywell, Flintshire and son Richard had been born in Rossett, Denbighshire, giving an insight how the families then moved around for work. Clara Gheel, 31, William’s sister and her 2 children Frank, 3 and Edith, 1 had both been born in Liverpool. There was no sign of Alfred on this census.
The 1911 census shows the family living in the same road, but number 20. Head of the household was Alfred Gheel 42 and a Draper’s Porter who had been born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire. Clara, 41 tells us that 6 children had been born, but sadly 1 died and they state they had been married for 15 years. Frank, 13, was the eldest son and child, his sister Edith, 11, had both been born in Aintree, Liverpool, while son Albert, 9 had been born in Fazakerley, Lancashire, Leonard, 4 and Dora, 2 had both been born in Chester.
3 years later Frank enlisted in the Army, the Cheshire Regiment, he was only 17 years and 5 months old. He had been a Moulder (Apprentice) at Hydraulic Engineering Co., possibly in Saltney. He enlisted at the Drill Hall, Chester on the 1st April 1914, , little knowing the future of course.
His attestation was approved by the Approving Officer, Sqd. John C.G. Graves on the 4th June 1914 at Rhyl
He was posted at Chester from 1st April 1914 to 27th August 1916, then went to France, Rouen sailing from Southampton on the 28th August 1916 till the 18th December 1916, then home again from 19th December 1916 – 13th June 1917, then back to France sailing on the 15 June 1917 to Boulogne till when he was killed on the 24th August 1917. Frank was in and out of hospital with Enteritis and Diarrhorea from the 19th October 1916 to the 18th December 1916, 6 times.
Frank was appointed to L/Cpl on the 1st September 1915 and reverted to Private at his own request on the 22nd June 1916.
Frank Gheel in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 does not tell us his first Theatre of War, nor when he entered it but des tell us he was awarded the T.F.War Medal*
*The Territorial Force War Medal, 1914-1920
This is the least commonly issued campaign medal. It was instituted in 1920 and only applicable to men or women who had served in a unit of the Territorial Force. To qualify, the soldier must have completed four years or more service prior to 4 August 1914, and if not still serving must have rejoined by 30 September 1914; they must have agreed to serve overseas by the same date; they must have served overseas at some point up to and including 11 November 1918; and they must not have otherwise qualified for a 1914 or 1914-15 Star. Only 33,944 of this medal was issued, to members of the TF and the TF Nursing Service.
Frank Gheel in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 confirms his regimental details, including his service with the Cheshire Regiment and that he was born in Aintree, Lancashire, he enlisted in Chester, but does not give his residence.
Frank Gheel in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells that his Sole Legatee was his Mother Clara Gheel £4 6s 8d and War Gratuity of £ 13 10s. 0d.