In memory of Frank Horton

wrexham_frank_hortonFrank Horton’s parents were Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Horton, of Church Street, Wrexham, and of 1 Temple Row. Joseph ran a pawnbroking and jewellery business, which Frank joined after his education in Withernsea, Yorkshire, and at Ashville College, Harrogate. He was at Ashville from 1907 to 1911, and was back in Wrexham by the time of the 1911 census.

He enlisted in the army in February 1916. Later that year his brother John Percy Horton, who also worked for the family business, appealed against conscription but the appeal was dismissed.

After a few months at the Western Front in France, Frank received his officer’s commission. In March 1918 he was appointed assistant adjutant to the administrative commandant of the Third Army’s railhead in France, an important part of the supply chain to the Front.

In April 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry as a second lieutenant with the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment in the Battle of Cambrai – the first battle in which tanks were deployed.

Frank returned home on leave in July and was sent to Ireland for medical reasons. On the morning of 10 October 1918 he boarded the passenger ship RMS Leinster at Kingston (later renamed Dun Laoghaire) for the return voyage to Holyhead. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank with the loss of more than 500 lives.

Frank was among the dead. He was 23 years old. His body was never found. He is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. The memorial is dedicated to First World War servicemen and women who have no known grave, most of whom were lost at sea around the British Isles.

With thanks to Nick Jackson


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