Topic: Corporal Frank Pengelly

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War who died of his wounds and influenza after discharge.

Corporal Frank Pengelly - 33762          

Frank was born at Christchurch on 10th November 1887, son of William and Laura Ann Pengelly. The family had come from Canada when William bought a small farm at Annat. Before enlisting Frank was working as a chaffcutter for F. Lill at Dunsandel. He was one of the soldiers given a farewell in January 1917 where he was presented with the usual tokens, a money belt containing half a sovereign, and a pocket wallet, and the usual packet of handkerchiefs from the schoolchildren. He was 5ft 8in tall with a light complexion, grey eyes and light hair.

Frank enlisted on 18th September 1916 and was assigned to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade Reinforcements, H Company. Whilst in training he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 9th October, then promoted to Corporal on 8th December, and finally to Sergeant on 13 January 1917 before he  embarked for England on board the Waitemata on 19th January. He disembarked at Devonport on 28th March 1917, reverting to Corporal, and was immediately admitted to the 4th Hospital at Plymouth suffering from diarrhoea. From there he was transferred to the No 3 NZ General Hospital at Codford on 30th May, two months later.  He was finally taken on the strength at Codford on 4th June 1917 and then transfered to the Reserve Group at Sling on 30th July. Whilst there he passed the examination and was confirmed in rank of Corporal. He finally left for France on 11th November 1917. He marched into camp at Etaples on 13th November and joined the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment in the field in 9th December 1917. During the fighting at Polygon Wood on 19th December he was severely wounded by a shell explosion. His medical records show that there were multiple shell fragments in his face especially the right side of his face, right eye and right ear and wounds to his right thigh, shin and ankle. On the 20th December 1917 he was taken up by the Field Ambulance and then on to the Casualty Clearing Station. He reached the hospital at Boulogne on 24th December and spent Christmas Day there. From there he was evacuated to England on board HS St Patrick on 26th December 1917 and was admitted to the London General Hospital at Camberwell the same day. On 10th January 1918 he was transferred to the NZ General Hospital at Walton on Thames. Following more treatment he was classified as unfit for service by a Medical Board on 27th February 1918 and was placed on the NZ Roll, being sent back to NZ on board the Marama on 6th April, arriving 18th May 1918. He was finally discharged as “not fit on account of wounds received in action on 16th October 1918”. When examined on board Marama he still had a weak and infected leg and later at Christchurch the thigh wound was still a disability. He had undergone two operations on 19th December 1917 and then also on 20 January 1918 to excise his wounds and suture them. Before the advent of antibiotics infection was hard to control especially in wounds contaminated by battlefield debris. In September 1918 he was accorded a welcome home and received a set of military hair brushes.  He died aged 28 on 15th November 1918 from influenza and the effects of his injuries. He had been a patient at the Returned Soldiers' Ward at the Christchurch Hospital for four months, and had been discharged just prior to his death. He was buried in Sydenham Cemetery and the funeral was partly a military one, the coffin was conveyed on a gun-carriage. Canon Bean read the burial service. The pallbearers were Privates N. Fraser, A. Broom, E. McDonald, and J. Rossels, all returned soldier friends of the deceased. Frank is remembered on the Dunsandel War Memorial.

Researched and writte by L M Seaton.


Location Information: The cemetery is in Roker Street, Somerfield, Christchurch.

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Corporal Frank Pengelly

First Names:Frank
Last Name:Pengelly
Date of Birth:10th November 1887
Place of Birth:Christchurch
Date of Death:15 Novemeber 1918
Place of Death:Christchurch
Memorial or Cemetery:Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch.
Age at death:28
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Chaffcutter
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:52/31
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:18 September 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Mrs. L. A. Pengelly, of Hanmer. Born at Christchurch. Served on the Western Front.
Service Number:33762
Rank last held:Corporal
Embarkation:19 January 1917
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Western front
Cause of Death:Wounds and Influenza
Other biographical information:NOK F. Lill (friend), Dunsandel, Rakaia,