WILBY, Frank

No.161003, Private, Frank WILBY
Aged 28

72nd Battalion (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada), CEF
Killed in Action on Monday, 2nd April 1917

Frank Wilby was born on 4th December 1888 in Denston, (Risbridge Q4-1888 4A:627) son of George and Jane WILBY (née COOKE).

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at Hill Farm, Stradishall with his father George WILBY [39] farmer, born Gissing, Norfolk; his mother Jane [39]; sisters Caroline [6], Nancy [4] and Dorothy [2 months.born in Stradishall; brother George Henry [7]. All except his father and sister Dorothy were born in Denston. Also there was his aunt Eva WILBY [24] born Gissing, Norfolk.

1901 census...Aged 12, he was at Hill Farm, Stradishall with his parents; sisters Caroline, Nancy and Dorothy (now recorded as born in Denston)

1911 census...Aged 22, he may well be the 22 yrs old Frank Wilby, farmer, who sailed from Liverpool aboard the SS Lake Manitoba on the 30th March 1910, bound for St John, New Brunswick, Canada. His parents were still at Hill Farm with his sisters Nancy and Dorothy (Dorothy has now reverted to being born in Stradishall).

His father died in 1922 and his mother moved to Clopton Hall, Poslingford.

Canadian Archives RG-150,Acc 1992-93/166 Box 10349 -27. No circumstance of death card since Sip to Z have been lost. He attested in Calgary on 30th December 1915, giving his date of birth as 4th December 1888, a farmer with next of kin his father George at Hill Farm, Stradishall. He was 5 feet 7 inches (170.2 cm)tall, chest 32" to 35" (81.3 to 88.9 cm), blue eyes, brown hair, Church of England. His service papers have not yet been digitised and put on line.
War Diary:-
"2 April 1917..Vimy Ridge..A patrol consisting of .......left our lines at 9:15 pm to observe enemy movements and working parties. The patrol observed from the junction of Cyrus and Clutch trenches, and returned a 10:30 pm. A patrol consisting ...left our lines at 11:30 pm to watch for enemy working parties. Moonlight was very bright and movement was difficult. Our artillery both heavies and field heavily bombarded the enemy lines throughout the day, our heavy mortars joining in. Enemy artillery was fairly active this day. At 10:30 pm heavy enemy barrage placed on our front and support lines. He apparently saw our patrol and mistook it for a raiding party.
Casualties 2 other ranks killed, 10 other ranks wounded."

Frank was not named as one of the patrols, so was presumably killed by shell fire.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Frank Wilby is buried in Villers-au-Bois, Station Cemetery grave 7:H:15

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details