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Francis Radford Noel: Friday 8th May 1918

Frank was born in Hammersmith and emigrated to Australia and became a station hand. He enlisted as Private 2373 with the 34th Batt Australian Infantry at Narrabri, New South Wales on 14 June 1916 giving an address of Pullaming, Gunnedah (possibly a sheep station). 

His attestation form describes him as 22 years 2 months. 5’10¼” tall, weighed  153 lbs., chest 35”/39½”, fair complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes, very good physical development and vertical scars on his right shoulder and thigh. He gave his denomination as Church of England. He signed himself Frank not Francis.  He also stated that he had spent 3½ years with Emanuel School Officers’ Training Corp. and that he had been previously turned down for military service on the grounds of varicocele.

He left Sydney on 17 October 1916 on board HMAT A30 Borda and arrived in Plymouth on 9 January 1917.  He joined the 9th training brigade and was hospitalised with laryngitis for 10 days in February.  He was appointed Corporal on 15 May and reverted back on 3 June.  On the 4 June, he left Folkestone for Le Harve.  He became a Corporal again on 6 June only to revert again on 4 July before marching to the front where he rejoined the 34th Batt.  On 3 August he was promoted to Lance Corporal.  On 4 September he was hospitalised with flu at St Omer.  He was moved to a hospital in Boulogne and eventually rejoined his unit on 16 November (sounds like a bit more than flu!).

He had leave in England from 26 January 1918 returning on 9 February.  He was in hospital again on 16 March this time with bronchitis.  He was back with his battalion by 24 March and promoted to Corporal on 4 April.  He was killed in action on 8 May.  His will left his property to his father.  His effects and medals were sent to his father but the list of them had not survived.  He is commemorated on the Villiers-Bretonneux Memorial.

This is between Amiens and St Quentin on the Somme and was the scene of a German advance in April 1918 followed by recapture of the Village by the Australians in August.  The memorial lists 10,766 Australians with no known grave and includes those recently discovered at Fromelles.

He gave his father and mother, Percy Noel and Annie Louisa Noel (nee Wills), as his next of kin, and gave his father’s business address (Solicitors) 29 John Street Bedford Row, London. In 1911 the family lived at 18 Nicosia Road.  There were 6 children, William Percival (19 Engineering draughtsman), Francis (17 no occupation), Annie Phyllis (14), Walter Fredrick (11), James Albert Edward (9) and Claude Anthony (7). Francis Radford Noel was a pupil of Emmanuel School and is on the Roll of Honour.