After the First World War broke out in August, Frank signed his attestation papers on 23 Sept 2014, joining the Canadian Expeditionary Force. I downloaded his complete digitized service file two days ago from Library and Archives Canada.
|Attestation page 1|
Was he gassed or physically injured in battle before capture? I know that when he was repatriated from Germany in December 1918, his medical records note that he had diptheria. By 18 Mar 1919, his medical records indicate that his physique and nutrition were good. The family story is that his mother, Annie Ross Matheson, came down from the Highlands to bring him home so that she could nurse him. But army records tell a different tale. After he was repatriated from Germany, he was at the Ripon Drill Hall, an auxiliary British Army hospital in Yorkshire, where he seems to have been until March, a three month recovery period. Ripon was a demobilization centre for returning troops after the war ended.
|Attestation page 2|
Frank's First World War service file is just 56 pages in total. You can read it here. Missing from his file are details of when he left Canada for England, where he was in England, and then when he was deployed to France.
How long was he on the ground in France before Ypres? What he endured in his three and a half years at three German POW camps we will never know. He never spoke of his experiences, except perhaps with my grandfather because he also served, but he too never spoke about his own experiences.
Frank married Victoria Marsh (1893-1942) on 20 June 1920 in Montreal. They had three daughters. He and his family were very close to my grandparents, mother and aunt, with frequent Sunday dinners through the years. He died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Montreal in May 1949, at the age of 56.
The never ending story continues....