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Francis Bernard Enwright

Auckland Weekly News, 1915.

Francis (Frank) was born on 28 December 1893 in Thames, New Zealand. He was the second son and fifth child of Thomas and Catherine Enwright and was named for his maternal uncle and grandfather.

Frank's father was involved in the gold mining industry at the time of his birth. He later became involved in the hotel keeping business, moving his family to a number of locations including central Auckland, Kohukohu, Ellerslie, Thames and Opotiki (NZ Electoral Roll, 1989). Frank's education continued throughout, and he achieved the Fourth Educational Standard (NZ Military, 1914-1915).

Frank was a keen footballer and, at the time of enlistment, was working in Rawene as a labourer for the Union Box Company (NZ Military, 1914-1915).

On 4 September 1914 he was seen by the enlistment board, which was held at Alexandra Park in Epsom, Auckland, and passed fit for active service. It was recorded that he was 5 foot 10 inches tall, weighed 11 stone, and his hair and eye colour were listed as brown (NZ Military, 1914-1915).

His father had died on 1 September 1914 and this was probably unknown to Frank, as his father was listed as his next of kin on his military file. At the time of enlisting, Frank was approximately three months short of his 21st birthday. It is not clear why his year of birth is stated as 1890, making him three years older.

On 23 September 1914, he left New Zealand with the 15th Company, North Auckland Regiment and set sail for Egypt via Wellington where the troop ship picked up the rest of the 1st Echelon. They then sailed to Australia and then on to Egypt. The troop ship arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on 4 December 1914 (Burton, 1922).

During the voyage to Alexandria it is recorded that Frank overstayed leave and he was punished with 168 hours of detention (NZ Military, 1914-1915).

Frank survived the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April. However, at some point he sustained a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. Such was the chaos and confusion following the initial landing, it is possible that he could have been triaged as of low importance (Tyquin, 2012). He possibly sat on the beach at Anzac Cove waiting to be evacuated.

On 10 May 1915 he was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis. His condition worsened and he died on 28 May 1915 (NZ Military, 1914-1915).

Frank is buried in the war cemetery in Cairo, Egypt and his name also appears on his father's headstone in Thames. His medals, a small Christmas cake tin from 1914 and shells from the beach at Gallipoli are still treasured by the descendants of the Enwright family.

The New Zealand Herald, May 1916.
At the time Frank died, his mother had already lost a grandson, her mother, her brother and her husband, all in the space of two years. His three brothers Tom, John (Jack) and Maurice also served during the First World War.

A year after Frank's death his mother and siblings placed this advertisement in the New Zealand Herald:

A babe in arms, or a man full-grown,
It matters not which it be,
A son is a son, and Frank, my own,
Was just my boy to me.

 

New Zealand Herald, 1916

References

Burton, O. E. (1922). The Auckland Regiment, NZEF. Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd.

Enwright, C. (27 May 1916). In Memoriam. New Zealand Herald, Vo. LIII, (16240). Retrieved from: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgibin/paperspast?a=d&d=NZH19160527.2.2.5

New Zealand Government (1989). New Zealand Electoral Rolls. Auckland: NZ BAB Microfilming.

New Zealand Military (1914-1915). Francis Bernard Enwright Military Record. Retrieved from http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=21001173

Tyquin, M. (2012). Gallipoli: An Australian Medical Perspective. Big Sky Publishing.