Background and war service 1914-1915
Frank was born in Bedfordshire in 1892 but was brought up in Radcliffe on Trent where his mother’s family lived. His grandfather Richard Barratt was a shoemaker, baker and grocer with premises in the centre of the village. Frank had two older brothers, Richard Bennett and Frederick John, and three older sisters, Annie, Ellen and Alice. His father died in the 1890s and his mother married Charles William Johnson, who was ten years younger than her, in 1901. The family moved from Thraves Yard to their new home, ‘Ashfield’, at the Harlequin in Radcliffe. Ashfield was one of several nurseries in the area for market gardeners. The family were Wesleyans and members of their local church, which has since been demolished.
Frank attended school In Radcliffe and joined the 2nd Nottingham Company Boys’ Brigade (Dakeyne Street Lads Club) in Nottingham. In 1911 he was working at Wrights, a printing company in Radcliffe. His older brother Richard (always known as Bennett) Daniels had emigrated to America and his mother Alice was a patient in Nottingham General Hospital at the time of the census. Frank enlisted with the Territorial Force in 1912 and was attached to the 1st/7th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Robin Hoods). He was now a printer’s apprentice at Howitt and Son, Alfred Street Mills, Nottingham.
When war was declared, Frank was mobilised immediately because he was a territorial. He would have paraded at the Sherwood Foresters headquarters on Derby Road on 5th August 1914 then marched with the Robin Hoods to Nottingham Market Square where they were met by cheering crowds. He was under the command of Lt. Colonel Charles Birkin from Lamcote House, Radcliffe on Trent. Frank left for France from Southampton on 28th March 1915 after several months of army training. He underwent hospital treatment for dental caries in Versailles, returning to the 46th Division base camp in Rouen towards the end of May. He re-joined the Robin Hoods at Locre and went with them to the front line at Kemmel on 27th May.
The 1/7th Sherwood Foresters were in trenches for four days from 28th May; their tour of duty included instruction by a Kings Royal Rifles company. They were relieved by the 5th Leicestershires and 8th Sherwoods on June 2nd and marched back to their rest billets at Locre. The pattern of four days in the trenches and four days rest continued for three weeks. On June 20th the unit attended a divine service in the field at Locre then paraded to receive Sir Charles Ferguson, acting Commanding Officer. He commended the battalion on their work and said that ‘their trench work was so good that he had sent some of the battalions of the New Army to the ‘Robin Hoods’ for instruction in trench warfare’. They then marched off to Vlamertinghe where their C.O. Colonel Birkin re-joined them, having returned from home leave. On 23rd June the battalion marched to the east of Ypres in support of the trench line and went into huts at Sanctuary Wood and Maple Copse (source; War Diary of 7th Battalion (Robin Hood) Sherwood Foresters for 1915).
Frank received a bullet wound to his upper arm on 27th June while in support at Sanctuary Wood, ending his first phase of active service. He was transferred to No 4 General Hospital at Versailles and from there back to England where he arrived on July 1st 1915. He was in hospital for two weeks from 3rd-16th July at Delaney House in Scotland. Frank spent the next eight months recovering in England and had permission to wear a wound stripe.
For more information, description of the Wound Stripe click here.
By 2nd August he was well enough to attend the wedding of his sister, Alice.
Wedding of Alice M. Daniels (known as Cissie) and William Askey, August 2nd 1915
Photograph courtesy of descendants of the Daniels family.
Frank, in his military uniform, is standing third from the back on the left in the wedding photograph. His sister Ellen (known as Nellie) is standing third from the right. The woman next to her may be his sister Annie, who emigrated to Canada, His mother is sitting between the bride and his step-father. It is not known if Frank’s brothers are in this photo; Frederick (always known as John) Daniels had also emigrated to Canada by this time where he worked for the Canadian Pacific.