Frank Glew, Private 15/572, 1st Leeds Pals
There is some doubt or confusion over Frank Glew’s date of birth. He died on 1st July 1916, and both the official death record and the family gravestone state that he was 24, making him born in 1892, or even late 1891. He was baptised on 25th April 1893, or possibly 13th May 1893, and I suspect that the records giving his birth as 1893 are based on this. On the two censuses where he appears his age is given, in 1901 as 7, and in 1911 as 17, leading to a birth year of 1894 which, assuming the baptismal record is correct, must be too late. He was born in Goole, which does not seem to be disputed. I have so far found no actual birth record.
Frank was the only son of Edward Hugh Glew, who had married Georgina Turgoose in 1888. He had an older sister Edith Emily and a younger one, Winifred, both born, as was his mother, in Goole, and at the time of his death the family was still there. His father Edward was a cabinet maker, though later a furniture shop assistant. His mother sadly died on 5th November 1905, when Frank was 13, probably, and still at school. Edward lived for more than another 40 years.
Six years later, on the 1911 Census, Frank was a bank clerk, working for the London Joint Stock Bank in Roundhay Road, Leeds. In order to do this he had gone to stay with his cousins, the Hyde family, in Beeston. Thomas Charles Hyde, head of the family, was the superintendent of Leeds Unemployment Registry. Three years after this the war broke out.
Frank was now 22, probably, and probably wasted no time in volunteering. His service number indicates an early recruit, but strangely his name is not on the list of applicants, though the names on either side of his when the numbers were allocated both turned up on 5th September. Nevertheless he was accepted, and put into B Company, No.6 Platoon, where he eventually became the company bomber. He would have gone with the battalion to Colsterdale for training, then to Ripon and Fovant, before, in December 1915, sailing to Egypt to guard the Suez Canal against the Turks. His medal card shows that he landed there on 22nd December, and there he stayed until 1st March 1916, when the battalion sailed for France, to prepare for the Big Push.
On 1st July 1916, at 0730 hours, the Pals, along with thousands of other troops, climbed out of their trenches and began their walk towards the German trenches. The week long artillery bombardment would, they were told, have destroyed the opposition, and it would be a walkover. It was not. Only a handful of men reached their objective, the village of Serre. Of the 24 officers and 750 other ranks who went over the top, 13 officers and 209 O/Rs were killed, and 2 officers and 24 men died later of their wounds. At first it was thought that only 72 men of the battalion had survived. Frank Glew was one of those posted as ‘missing’.
Eventually it was accepted that Frank had been killed. His body was never found, and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, along with 72,000 others. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is listed in the Goole and District Roll of Honour, which was published at intervals throughout the war. In 1917 he was still listed as ‘missing’. He is also named on the family grave in Goole Cemetery, where his mother, father and sister Edith Emily are buried.
Glew is a Yorkshire nickname for a cautious, prudent or wise man.
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Researcher: Peter Taylor, with information from Goole World War One Group
- All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
- Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.