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Frank Goldthorpe

Frank GoldthorpePrivate Frank Goldthorpe, G/25434, Royal Sussex Regiment, 4th Battalion

Frank Goldthorpe was born at Horbury in 1898, the son of Joseph Hodgson Goldthorpe (born 1862) and his wife Caroline (nee Harrison), who married in 1882.

In 1901 Joseph and Caroline are living at Northgate Horbury with five children, Martha (born 1884), Alfred Harrison (born 1889), Walter (born 1895), Frank (born 1898) and Joe (born 1900). Joseph was an iron worker and he and his family are living in a three-roomed home. His neighbour on one side was his father, Joseph Goldthorpe, a 67 year-old widower, and on the other side was his brother, William H. Goldthorpe aged 41.

Caroline Goldthorpe died in December quarter 1909 at the age of only 47. Her death was registered at Dewsbury, suggesting that the family had moved from Horbury by this time. In 1911, the Goldthorpe family had definitely moved and Joseph was the head of a large "extended" family of 13 people living in a four roomed house at 87, South Leigh, South Parade, Ossett. Joseph was still an iron worker and he had remarried in 1910. In the Goldthorpe household are his new wife, widowed Louisa (formerly Wherrit, nee Collinson) with his sons, Walter, a coal hurrier, Frank and Joe, father-in-law, George Collinson, son-in-law Thomas Haigh and his wife Martha Haigh (nee Goldthorpe) plus their children Carrie and Ephraim. There are also three boarders: Eva Perkins and her two children. It may be that the family and the boarders had spread beyond the confines of the four roomed house referred to in the Census because South Leigh, South Parade was once a farm and it may be that some of the family were living in converted out-buildings.

Frank Goldthorpe joined the Army Service Corps in 1916 and saw service in Egypt, before transferring first to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, then to Royal Warwickshire Regiment and finally to the Royal Sussex Regiment with whom he was serving when he lost his life on the 11th October 1918 at the age of 20 years.

1/4th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment was formed in August 1914 at Horsham and attached to Home Counties Division. On the 24th of April 1915, the battalion transferred to 160th Brigade in 53rd (Welsh) Division. They then moved to Cambridge and in May 1915 on to Bedford, finally landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on the 9th of August 1915. In May 1918, they left the Division and moved to France. and on the 30th June 1918 they came under command of 101st Brigade in 34th Division, absorbing cadre of 13th Battalion on the 14th of August 1918.

The 34th Division were involved in the 1918 Battle of Ypres (28th September - 3rd of October) and the build-up to the Battle of Courtrai which started on the 14th October 1918 as part of the final advance to victory. It is likely that Frank Goldthorpe was killed in action during this Allied advance.

The "Ossett Observer" 1 had this report of Private Goldthorpe's death:

"Yesterday morning official notification was received that Private Frank Goldthorpe, Royal Sussex Regiment, son of Mr. J.H. Goldthorpe, 87, South Parade, Ossett was killed in action on October 11th. This is the second of Mr. Goldthorpe's sons to lose his life in the war. He joined the army voluntarily before he was 18 years of age, and at first went to Egypt, afterwards being transferred to the western front. He used to work at Old Roundwood Collieries. The remaining son, who is not yet eighteen, is a signaller in the Northumberland Fusiliers."

Private Frank Goldthorpe died on the 11th of October 1918, aged 20 years, the son of Joseph H. Goldthorpe, of 87, South Parade, Ossett, Yorks. He was a native of Horbury, Yorkshire.

Frank was awarded the Victory and British medals indicating that he embarked after the 31st December 1915. His service record has not survived but his Medal card reveals that he was attached to the Army Service Corps (Reg no. T4/199583), KOYLI (38599), Royal Warwickshire Regiment (38968) and Royal Sussex Regiment (G/25434).

Three of Frank Goldthorpe's brothers, Alfred, Walter and Joe were all of an age to serve in WW1. Alfred was a hurrier in a coal mine and may have been excepted military service. Walter Goldthorpe was born in 1895 and served in the 1st/4th Battalion of KOYLI before being killed in action on the 31st May 1915.

Joe Goldthorpe, the youngest brother, was a signaller in the Northumberland Fusiliers before transferring to the 1st Battalion of the Argyle and Southern Highlanders (96380) and he luckily survived the war. At the age of 18, he married Mary Elizabeth Kershaw (19) at the Wesleyan Chapel, Wesley Street, Ossett on the 27th October 1919. Joe was now working as a hurrier in a coal mine and Mary was a rag sorter, living with her parents at 18, Little Town End, Ossett. The couple had two sons who were named after Joe's two dead brothers: Walter Goldthorpe born in 1920 and Frank Goldthorpe born in 1922, both born in Ossett.

Frank Goldthorpe is buried at grave reference XVII. H. 18. at the Hooge Crater Cemetery 2, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. Hooge Crater Cemetery is 4 Kms east of Ieper town centre on the Meenseweg (N8), connecting Ieper to Menen.

Hooge Chateau and its stables were the scene of very fierce fighting throughout the First World War. On 31 October 1914, the staff of the 1st and 2nd Divisions were wiped out when the chateau was shelled; from 24 May to 3 June 1915, the chateau was defended against German attacks and in July 1915, the crater was made by a mine sprung by the 3rd Division. On 30 July, the Germans took the chateau, and on 9 August, it and the crater were regained by the 6th Division. The Germans retook Hooge on 6 June 1916 and on 31 July 1917, the 8th Division advanced 1.6 Kms beyond it. It was lost for the last time in April 1918, but regained by the 9th (Scottish) and 29th Divisions on 28 September.

Hooge Crater Cemetery was begun by the 7th Division Burial Officer early in October 1917. It contained originally 76 graves, in Rows A to D of Plot I, but was greatly increased after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields of Zillebeke, Zantvoorde and Gheluvelt


1. "Ossett Observer", October 26th 1918

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site