Pte. Frank York

10th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

Frank York was a Private in the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He was a company runner, responsible for carrying important messages. Even though field telephones were used during the War, they were rather unreliable at times due to the copper wire lines breaking. As a result, runners played a crucial role within military communications.

RFM_2015_6_3_Book-1_013Frank was snipered in no-mans land in early 1918 and had his knee amputated at a Field Hospital. Once he returned to the UK he spent time in various hospitals and recorded his time in them through his sketch books. In a letter written to his Father on 26th June 1918, Frank vents his frustration of being stuck in hospital for over three months, whilst other men come and go in three days! Frank’s wounds were rather stubborn, which he believed was due to the bad weather.

RFM_2015_6_3_Book-1_015As his sketchbooks show, Frank had a real talent, and, at the end of the War, Frank was awarded a grant to study at St Martin’s School of Art. During the Second World War, Frank became an Officer in charge of the ARP control centre in Woodford, where he lived with his family.

As a civilian, Frank led quite an active life, even playing cricket as a wicket keeper! Unfortunately, his leg gave him much trouble during his later years, as he had an exposed sciatic nerve from his amputation. Frank died at the age of 84.

RFM_2015_6_3_Book-1_012