Frank Overton

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Number: 200049                               Unit: 4th Lincolnshire
                                                                    Regiment
Rank: Private                                   Commemorated:
                                                 Cambrai Memorial France

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PERSONAL DETAILS.

Born at Boston, Frank (better known to his friends as “Gussy”) was one of 5 sons who served in the Army during the war.  His parents were George and Rebecca Overton.  He was 24 years of age when he died.  His family came from Woodhall Spa and, prior to his enlistment, Frank was working there with his elder brother, George, in a greengroccer business.  His parents were then residing at 17 Station Street, Boston.  Frank had joined the local Territorials (the 4th Lincolns) in about 1910 and volunteered for overseas service as soon as hostilities commenced.  Frank is also commemorated on the Boston War Memorial. 

SERVICE DETAILS.

In 1908, the 3 existing volunteer battalions of the Lincolnshire Rifle Volunteers, were reorganised to form the Lincoln’s two new territorial battalions, the 4th and 5th Lincolns.  By the outbreak of war, both battalions were part of the 138th Brigade, 46th Division.

After training, Frank was sent to Ireland, with the newly raised 2/4th battalion Lincolns.  He was there during the Easter Rising of 1916, subsequently leaving to arrive in France in or about February or March 1917.  During the later part of 1917, we find Frank’s battalion in the line around the Cambria area.  In late September to early October 1917, along with the 2/5th Lincolns, they were involved in the battle of Polygon Wood.  Thereafter, during the remainder of October, the 2/4th remained in Brigade reserve in Zouave valley.  By the 28th November, following the battle of Cambria, we see the battalion marching to Flesquieres.  They became involved in the many German counter attacks.  The Germans were trying to recover the ground lost to the Allies in the Cambria battle.  On the evening of the 3rd December 1917, the 2/4th Lincolns relieved the 2/4th Leicesters in the front line at Bourlon Wood.  The Regimental History describes, at this time, the area of Bourlon Wood as a “Death Trap” - the gas and shelling being very bad.  The British could not hold and eventually the line withdrew.  By the 7th December, a withdrawal along the whole front was completed.  It is during the period the battalion occupied Bourlon Wood that Frank was killed in action.  According to a letter home from his Sargent, Frank “was killed by a shell, and died at once, so did not suffer any pain”. 

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