Frank Jenner Nicol
Serial No. 2707
3rd Battalion & 1st Machine Gun Company
Frank Jenner Nicol - Information
Frank was the oldest child of John and Elizabeth Margaret Nicol. Born in Campbelltown in 1888, he grew up in the area with his four sisters. Sadly, Frank lost his father in April 1895. Still just a boy, Frank became head of the household. He lived at the family property of Netherdale in Appin, which he inherited. Frank helped to support the family finding work as a carpenter. In 1914, he married his sweetheart Beatrice Longhurst in Cantebury. Beatrice belonged to a prominent Campbelltown family who had settled much of Kentlyn. Frank and Beatrice were beginning their lives together, as news of the landings at Gallipoli reached Campbelltown. It inspired Frank to do his bit, enlisting in the AIF in Liverpool on the 5th of June 1915. During training, he was posted as a Private to the 8th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion. He was then shipped out from Sydney on the 9th of August 1915 onboard the HMAT Runic.
Frank arrived in Egypt, and was transported from Alexandria to Gallipoli on the 21st of October. At Anzac Cove, he was taken on strength to the 3rd Battalion in early November as a terrible blizzard was covering the coast in snow. Unable to make any significant headway, the campaign was called off. The 3rd Battalion was then transported back to Egypt. After further training, they were sent to France in March 1916, for a quiet introduction to the Western Front in what was known as The Nursery. The I ANZAC Corps was then moved south for operations in the Somme Valley, during the Battle of the Somme; their first major offensive on the Western Front. In late July, the troops ran into heavy German machine gun fire towards the village of Pozières. Here, Frank was wounded receiving gun shot wounds to his shoulder and jaw. He was rushed to hospital at Rouen, and on the 29th of July was evacuated to England. Frank was admitted to Graylingwell War Hospital for treatment. By November, he had recovered from his horrific injuries and sent back to his unit in France. The following month, Frank was transferred to the 1st Australian Machine Gun Company. Early in the new year, he began his specialised training, stationed to a Machine Gun School of Instruction. Frank and his unit were then posted to the Ypres Sector in preparation for the Third Battle of Ypres. During the offensive, on the 17th of September, Frank was promoted Lance Corporal. He was then wounded in action a second time on the 4th of October at Broodseinde. Frank was hit in his left arm and neck with shell fragments, and was rushed to the 41st Casualty Clearing Station. He was then transported by the 12th Ambulance Train for evacuation to England, where he was again admitted to Graylingwell Hospital. On the 30th of November, he once again proceeded back to France from Folkestone. The following month, he was marched out to the 1st Machine Gun Company, and a few days later promoted to Corporal. In February 1918, he returned to the Machine Gun School. He was made Temporary Sergeant on the 10th of March, and then Sergeant a month later. Frank fought alongside his unit in the intense fighting that followed the German March Offensive. He soon reported to the 2nd Army School in late July, before rejoining his unit on the 1st of September, as the Allies headed towards the Hindenburg Line. Unfortunately, a few days after he returned to the fighting, he was killed in action on the 18th of September 1918 while attacking the Hindenburg Outpost Line at Le Verguier. Frank was buried in Templeux-le-Guerard British Cemetery in France.
Back in Campbelltown, Beatrice and the Nicols were devastated by the loss of Frank. His mother, Elizabeth, especially was shocked, now losing her only son, shortly after her husband. At the time, she was living at Alpha House on Queen St, and Beatrice lived on Cordena St, before inheriting Netherdale from Frank’s estate. In 1921, much to Elizabeth’s resentment, Beatrice remarried Arthur Ernest Ross, a returned serviceman. Arthur and Beatrice then moved to a plot of land in the Soldier’s Settlement on Waminda Avenue in Campbelltown.