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Francis Henry Bear

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Portrait wearing Military Medal ribbon (kindly provided by family) - This image may be subject to copyright
Portrait wearing Military Medal ribbon (kindly provided by f … Read more

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Francis Henry AWMM
  • Surname
    Bear AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Frank AWMM
  • Service number
    17576 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    30 March 1917 AWMM TirauWaikato AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 7 January 1941 AWMM Rose Street, Tirau, Waikato, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Laura Isabel Bear (mother), Rose Street, Tirau, Waikato, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 7 April 1941 AWMM Single AWMM

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Italy AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    17576 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Military Medal (MM) AWMM
      17 June 1943 AWMM
      'On the morning of 12 April 1943 the Squadron encountered the rear-guard of the German forces at a point north of SOUSSE, Tunisia. Trooper Bear’s troop Came under intense anti-tank and machine-gun fire at a range of 300-500 yards and immediately went into action against at least three 47 mm type guns and others of 20 mm at these ranges. An armour-piercing shell struck the driver’s visor, killing the driver and gunner and wounding Trooper Bear in the face and knee. While still under intense fire he removed the driver and drove the tank out of range of the enemy’s fire where he attended to his Commander, who was also wounded and unconscious. He then immediately reported by wireless to his troop leader and squadron commander. In spite of his wound and being under high-explosive shell and mortar fire all the time, he remained operating his set and keeping in touch with troop and squadron headquarters, at one time acting as relay station between the two and refused to leave his post until ordered to do so by his troop leader in person. Trooper Bear displayed courage and initiative and by his actions alone contributed largely to the successful minor engagement. His devotion to duty saved the life of his Commander and prevented his tank from being completely destroyed by the enemy.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Bear, Francis Henry. (Ref. WO 373/25/222). Military Medal. AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
      MM. New Zealand Gazette, September 1944, p. 1146 AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Italy Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Enlistment
    WW2 7 January 1941 AWMM
    Age 24 AWMM
    Butcher/Civilian AWMM
    TirauWaikato AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Height, Unknown Period AWMM
      5 foot 8 inches AWMM
    • Eye colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Blue AWMM
    • Hair colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      Brown AWMM
    • Weight, Unknown Period AWMM
      9 stone 12 pounds AWMM
    • Complexion, Unknown Period AWMM
      Medium AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Wounded in action Cairo 12 April 1943 wounds to legs, groin, arms and face AWMM
    • Died of Disease, Cause of Death AWMM
      Coronary AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of Samuel and Laura Bear

    Attended school in Tirau then attended an agricultural course at Seddon Technical College.

    Frank and his brother-in-law took over the Oxford Butcher shop in Tirau which they supplied with meat from the family farm. They ran the butcher for about 18 months before Frank enlisted.

    Attested November 1940, and asked to be posted to a Tank Division. Entered Camp 7 January 1941, trained at Burnham and then sailed on HMT 26 for Egypt.

    An account of his action is: "The fourth member of the crew, Trooper Bear,10 was wounded also, in the knee and face, but he removed the driver's body and drove the tank into dead ground, where he could first attend to Murchison before getting back on to his wireless set and calling up his squadron commander. He remained there under mortar and shell-fire, acting as a radio relay station to his troop until this minor action was successfully concluded. Loughnan, R. (1963 p. 284).

    he received the Military Medal at Buckingham Palace 18 May 1943.

    Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant 26 July 1946

    After the War he was self employed running two companies: Earth removals and Heavy Haulage House Removals.

    His family recount some of his experiences in a document on file. They write "the War took a big toll on his health and he died young leaving a wife and 6 children". AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    9 December 1964 AWMM
    Age 45 AWMM
    Mount MaunganuiTauranga AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Tirau Cemetery, Corner of Okoroire Road and Heatherington Road, Tirau, South Waikato, New Zealand AWMM Soldiers Block AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name
    Roll of Honour, Tirau District 1939 - 1945, Tirau Museum, Tirau, New Zealand AWMM

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
    • Loughnan, R. (1963). Divisional Cavalry. Wellington, Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. Digital copy.
      http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2DiCa.html
      Sources Used
    • Probate, Auckland Regional Office file
      http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=14743288
      Further Reference
    • NZ Museums: Tirau Museum
      http://www.nzmuseums.co.nz/account/3158
      Further Reference
    • 'The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East.' (London Gazette, 17 June 1943, p.2762.). Military Medal.
      http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/36057/supplements/2762
      Further Reference
    • 'On the morning of 12 April 194.3 the Squadron encountered the rear-guard of the German forces at a point north of SOUSSE, Tunisia. Trooper Bear’s troop Came under intense anti-tank and machine-gun fire at a range of 300-500 yards and immediately went into action against at least three 47 mm type guns and others of 20 mm at these ranges. An armour-piercing shell struck the driver’s visor, killing the driver and gunner and wounding Trooper Bear in the face and knee. While still under intense fire he removed the driver and drove the tank out of range of the enemy’s fire where he attended to his Commander, who was also wounded and unconscious. He then immediately reported by wireless to his troop leader and squadron commander. In spite of his wound and being under high-explosive shell and mortar fire all the time, he remained operating his set and keeping in touch with troop and squadron headquarters, at one time acting as relay station between the two and refused to leave his post until ordered to do so by his troop leader in person. Trooper Bear displayed courage and initiative and by his actions alone contributed largely to the successful minor engagement. His devotion to duty saved the life of his Commander and prevented his tank from being completely destroyed by the enemy.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Bear, Francis Henry. (Ref. WO 373/25/222). Military Medal.
      http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=D7361441
      Further Reference
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 4: WW2 25 AWMM
    • Loughnan, R. (1963). Divisional Cavalry. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      Loughnan, R. (1963). p. 284, 432 AWMM