Francis James Mack
Serial No. 4330
Francis James Mack - Information
Francis James Mack was born in Cassilis c1898. His father, Henry Francis, was a postmaster and Francis followed in his footsteps. At the time, he also gained service experience within the militia. Francis worked in many a towns’ postal services. One such lengthy posting, saw Francis work as a postal assistant with the Campbelltown Post Office. In 1916, he was living with his family in Moss Vale, and working with his father at the Moss Vale Post Office. Francis then enlisted in the AIF on the 13th of June 1916 at the Royal Showground Camp in Sydney. Subsequently he was made a Trooper at the Light Horse Depot, and then a Private with the 11th Reinforcements, 29th Battalion in late September.
After training, Francis was shipped out from Sydney onboard the HMAT Afric on the 3rd of November 1916. He arrived at Plymouth on the 9th of January 1917, and was marched out to the 8th Training Battalion at Hurdcott. Francis was proving to be a very capable soldier and was promoted Corporal on the 10th of February. Then in early March, Francis was transported to Tidworth to an NCO School. He was then stationed to the Command Bomb School where he became an Instructor. However, in mid June, he reverted to Private and was transferred to the 63rd Battalion, 6th Division. However ailments, rising casualties numbers, and drops in recruitment figures, resulted in many battalions falling below strength. Plans for a new division were cancelled, and Francis was assigned back to the 29th Battalion and was transported to France in November. Upon arrival, he was marched into Le Havre, and later joined the 29th Battalion in the field.
In the new year, the German Spring Offensive, saw the first large breaks in the stalemate since 1914. Consequently, this resulted in many attacks as the Allies tried to halt the advance. Successful, they began nibbling at the Germans, whom were returning to the safety of the Hindenburg Line. At one such attack at Sailey-le-Sec between April and May 1918, Francis was mentioned in Sir General Douglas Haig’s despatches. On the 28th of July, Francis and his unit were fighting at Morlancourt, where they had achieved their objective and were now digging in. At about midnight, they were still constructing their new trenches when the Germans began shelling the line. Francis was subsequently hit in the abdomen by shell fragments. He was carried away by stretcher-bearers to the 61st Casualty Clearing Station. Sadly, he later died of his wounds at 8:30pm on the 29th of July. He was buried the following day in the Vignacourt British Cemetery, Vignacourt in France.