Topic: Trooper Frank Watson Rudd

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A soldier of the Great War who died of malaria and pneumonia in Palestone.

Trooper Frank Watson Rudd - 36019  Frank Watson Rudd 

Frank was born at Greendale on 8th September 1896, only son of John Dodsworth and Annie Elizabeth Rudd. He was educated at the Greendale School and the Christchurch Technical College, subsequently working on his father's farm. He had previous military experience serving with the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry. He was 5ft 8in tall with a fair complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair.

Frank enlisted at Darfield on 6th October 1916 at age 20 and was assigned to the 23rd Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles. However he didn’t start training until 14 November. He embarked on board the Moeraki on 19th April 1917 bound for Suez. They stopped in Sydney on 23rd April and after almost 2 and a half weeks he embarked this time on board the Port Sydney on 9th May for Suez. He disembarked at Suez on 20th June and marched into the training Regiment at Moascar on the same day. He was admitted to hospital at Alexandria on 26 July 1917 with squints (sic) possibly meaning diarrhoea as he was discharged only two days later. He re-joined the Training Regiment and then was transferred to Brigade on the 30th July. On 1st August he was posted to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles in the field. The mounted riflemen were not cavalry but used their horses to move quickly around the battlefield. When they gained contact with the enemy, they dismounted and fought on foot with rifles, bayonets and machine guns. Three months later he was again sent to hospital “sick” on 8th December and admitted to the Mobile field Ambulance with diarrhoea/enteritis again on the 10th. He was discharged on the 15th and re-joined his unit on the 24th December just in time for Christmas. He was sent to Rest Camp at Port Said on 19th July 1918 for almost 6 weeks returning to the Training camp at Moascar on 25th June. He was then back to the Canterbury Mounted on 1st July where he was posted to the 1st Squadron in the field on 4th July. He served with them, as his obituary notes “being in all the operations in Palestine” which would have included the capture of Jericho and later Amman.  Unfortunately this included a long period in the malaria carrying mosquito ridden Jordan Valley. One of the many that were struck down he was sent sick to hospital from the field on 10th October and admitted to the mobile field Ambulance with a PUO (pyrexia of unknown origin),then he was admitted to the 36th Stationary Hospital at Gaza on 13th October. He was sent on to the 24th Stationary Hospital at Kantara and listed as “dangerously ill”. He died of double pneumonia and malaria on 22 October 1918, aged just 22. He was buried in theKantara War Memorial Cemetery, Palestine. In New Zealand Frank is remembered on the Malvern County and Greendale War Memorials. A memorial tablet was unveiled in the Greendale Methodist Church by his comrades.

Researched and written by L M Seaton. Headstone photo courtesy of New Zealand War Graves Project

CWGC Cemetery locale history: In the early part of the First World War, Kantara was an important point in the defence of Suez against Turkish attacks and marked the starting point of the new railway east towards Sinai and Palestine, begun in January 1916. Kantara developed into a major base and hospital centre and the cemetery was begun in February 1916 for burials from the various hospitals, continuing in use until late 1920. After the Armistice, the cemetery was more than doubled in size when graves were brought in from other cemeteries and desert battlefields, notably those at Rumani, Qatia, El Arish and Rafa. The Second World War again saw Kantara as a hospital centre. No 1 General Hospital was there from July 1941 to December 1945 and two others, Nos 41 and 92, were there in turn for varying periods. One of the major allied medical units in the area, No 8 Polish General Hospital, adjoined the war cemetery. KANTARA WAR MEMORIAL CEMETERY now contains 1,562 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 110 from the Second World War. There are also 341 war graves of other nationalities in the cemetery, many of them made from the Polish hospital and concentrated in a distinct Polish extension. Near the entrance to the cemetery is the KANTARA MEMORIAL, bearing the names of 16 New Zealand servicemen of the First World War who died in actions at Rumani and Rafa, and who have no known grave.

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Trooper Frank Watson Rudd

First Names:Frank Watson
Last Name:Rudd
Date of Birth:8 September 1896
Place of Birth:Greendale, Canterbury
Date of Death:22 October 1918
Place of Death:Kantara, Palestine
Memorial or Cemetery:Kantara War Memorial Cemetery
Age at death:22
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Single
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:6 October 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of John Dosworth and Annie Elizabeth Rudd, Greendale
Service Number:36019
Rank last held:Trooper
Embarkation:19 April 1917
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Middle East
Cause of Death:Died of disease