Topic: Private Francis James Page

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War killed in action near Ypres.

Private Francis James Page - 6/1683  

Page, F. J.

Francis James was born 15 September 1896 at Springston, son of James and Mary Page, of Tai Tapu. He was known as Frank. He was educated at the Ellesmere and Halswell Schools and after leaving school he worked as a farm labourer for Mr G. Maugilds at Tai Tapu. He had previous military experience with the Territorials in the 13th Regiment. He was 5ft 10in tall with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and light brown hair.

Frank enlisted at Trentham on 20th December 1914. Newspaper reports state that he was eighteen and his birth registration confirms this, however on his enlistment form he gives 1890 as his birth year, so he appears to have lied about his age. He left with the 3rd Reinforcements on 14 February 1915 arriving in Suez 26th March. He joined the Canterbury Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli on 9th May 1915 and survived the fighting until falling ill at Gaba Tepe. He was sent to the hospital ship Dunluce Castle on 20th June 1915 sick with enteric fever, another name for typoid. He was sent to hospital at Alexandria on the 3rd July then transferred to the convalescent camp at Port Said on 7th August. After a Medical Board found him unfit he was invalided home to New Zealand on board the Tafua on 23rd September. He arrived back in Springston in early November 1915, along with R. Humphries and both were welcomed with cheers, speeches and songs, followed by a dance and supper.

Frank faced a medical board in October 1915 and was given two months home leave. He returned to duty 30th Jan 1916, this time with the 10th Reinforcements of the Canterbury Infantry leaving with them on 4th March. He disembarked in Suez on 10th April  just in time to embark for France on 13th April on board the Kinfauns Castle  with the NZ Infantry Battalion. He was taken on strength at Etaples on 24th April and he joined the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment at Armentiers on 18th May. He was wounded in action 21st September, suffering a gunshot wound to his left forearm. He was admitted to No 11 Stationary Hospital at Rouen on 23rd and a few days later sent to England on board the HS Aberdonian. From there he was admitted to the No1 New Zealand Hospital at Brockenhurst on 27th September. After almost three months, including time at the convalescent depot at Hornchurch, he was sent to No 3 NZ General Hospital at Codford, Salisbury Plain on 22nd January 1917. After another three months he was discharged on 28thApril and two months later he was well enough to be attached to the 4th Reserve Battalion at Sling Camp. He finally arrived back in Etaples on 27th July and re-joined his unit in the field on 11th August. Seven weeks later he was killed in action on 29 September 1917 near Ypres, aged 21. He was buried in the Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Belgium. In New Zealand Francis is remembered on the Tai Tapu and Springston War Memorial.  

Researched and written by L M Seaton                     


CWGC Cemetery locale history: From October 1914 to the autumn of 1918, Ypres (now Ieper) was at the centre of a salient held by Commonwealth (and for some months by French) forces. From April 1915, it was bombarded and destroyed more completely than any other town of its size on the Western Front, but even so certain buildings remained distinguishable. The ruins of the cathedral and the cloth hall stood together in the middle of the city, part of the infantry barracks stood in an angle of the south walls and the prison, reservoir and water tower were together at the western gate. Three cemeteries were made near the western gate: two between the prison and the reservoir, both now removed into the third, and the third on the north side of the prison. The third was called at first the "Cemetery North of the Prison," later "Ypres Reservoir North Cemetery, and now Ypres Reservoir Cemetery. This cemetery was begun in October 1915 and used by fighting units and field ambulances until after the Armistice, when it contained 1,099 graves. The cemetery was later enlarged when graves were brought in from the battlefields of the salient and the following smaller burial grounds:- YPRES RESERVOIR SOUTH CEMETERY, between the prison and the reservoir (also called "Broadley's Cemetery" and "Prison Cemetery No.1"). It was used from October 1914 to October 1915, and contained the graves of 18 soldiers from the United Kingdom. YPRES RESERVOIR MIDDLE CEMETERY, immediately North of the last named (also called "Prison Cemetery No.2" and "Middle Prison Cemetery"). It was used in August and September 1915, and rarely afterwards. It contained the graves of 107 soldiers from the United Kingdom (41 of whom belonged to the 6th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) and one Belgian soldier. The CEMETERY at the INFANTRY BARRACKS (also called "the Esplanade"). It was used from April 1915 to July 1916 and contained the graves of 14 soldiers from the United Kingdom, ten of whom belonged to the 6th Siege Battery, R.G.A. In Plot V, Row AA, are the graves of 16 officers and men of the 6th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, who were billeted in the vaults of the cathedral and killed on 12 August 1915 by shelling from the "Ypres Express" firing from Houthulst Forest. The survivors were rescued by the 11th King's Liverpools, but these bodies were not recovered until after the Armistice. There are now 2,613 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,034 of the burials are unidentified. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

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Private Francis James Page

First Names:Francis James
Last Name:Page
Date of Birth:15 September 1896
Place of Birth:Springston
Date of Death:29 September 1917
Place of Death:Ypres, Belgium
Memorial or Cemetery:Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Belgium
Age at death:21
User Name:L. M. Seaton
Other names known by:Frank
Occupation before enlisting:Labourer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:Vol1/26 and 559/15
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:20th December 1914
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of James and Mary Page, of Tai Tapu, Christchurch.
Service Number:6/1683
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:4 March 1916
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Willochra or Tofua
Theatres of War:Gallipoli, France
Cause of Death:Killed in action
Other biographical information:Ex 3rd Reinforcements. had previously embarked 14 Feb 1915