SERVICE NO: 1423
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1886
PLACE OF BIRTH: Newtown, Tasmania
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 24 August 1914
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Broadmeadows
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 28
UNIT: 2nd Field Artillery Brigade
EMBARKED: 20 October 1914
TROOPSHIP: HMAT A27 Southern
FATE: Killed in Action – 1 August 1915 – Cape Helles, Gallipoli
Francis Johnson better known as Frank was born in Tasmania in 1886, a son of Francis Charles Johnson and Elizabeth Grundy. Frank’s father was a quarry worker in Tasmania. The family moved to Victoria and Francis began working as a ganger for Victoria Railways. They lived at the Railway Reserve in Branxholme. Frank worked as a labourer and played a few games of football for Branxholme. War broke and Frank, then aged twenty-eight was the first man from Branxholme to enlist and would have been among the first in the district.
Frank left Branxholme for camp on 24 August 1914 with Branxholme locals giving him a send-off at the Branxholme railway station. He left for Egypt in October 1914 and after several months of training left for Gallipoli. Frank was at the landing on 25 April 1915.
In July 1915, Franks parents received a letter from him at the Dardanelles letting them know he was okay. That must have come as a relief given the news coming being to reach Australia about the losses there. On 25 August 1915, the Johnsons received a visit from Reverend Williams who had received a telegraph advising him of the death of Frank on 1 August.
During April 1916, Frank’s younger brother enlisted. He returned to Australia on 23 September 1918. He was dead by April 1919 from influenza.
By 1922, the Johnsons were living at the Ovens Bakery in Beechworth. By 1927 they had moved on to Nicholson Street, Fitzroy where Elizabeth died in 1930.
Frank Johnson is remembered on Hamilton’s Christ Church WW1 Honour Board.