21681 Pte Frank Nuttall
Click here for the National Archives records
He was in 13 Platoon of D Company 20th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
(4th Salford Pals)
His Platoon commander was 2nd Lt H C Pemberton and his Company
was commanded by Captain W J Lias his platoon Sergeant was Sgt
He probably was injured in the war as he then went into the Labour
Corps Number 480294 we also think he came from Middleton
He wrote on the plaque
One Middleton Lad going to do his bit for his country left this
camp on the 29/1/16/for France
Frank Nuttall 1 Mills Hill Middleton
Frank's Service Record
Frank Nuttall, the son of Alice Anne Nuttall of Number 1 Mills
Hill,Middleton, Lancashire was just 19 years old when he enlisted
at Salford on the 15th June 1915 for the Pals.
He was a small lad, being just 5 feet 1 inch in height, and having
a chest measurement of 34 inches, ideal for a Bantam battalion,
which he duly signed on for.
By the 10th August, Frank had been promoted to unpaid Lance
Corporal, and by the 15th of the same month he began being paid
as a Lance corporal.
Such quick promotion was not too last long however, as on
the 2nd October 1915 he lost the stripe he had so quickly earned.
We shall probably never know why he lost his single stripe.
His record then shows him as Posted on the same
day he wrote his message to us on the plywood board.
28 Oct 1933, p. 10, column 1 Middleton Guardian
Abstract: Frank Nuttall Of Mills Hill Road Lost Control Of Motor
Lorry In Manchester Old Road And Collided With Horse Drawn Lorry
The article on the Lorry crash from 1933 does not give any other
details apart from "Frank Nutall of Mills Hill Road"
Frank Nuttall was born in 1899 in
Middleton, the youngest son of Richard and Alice Ann. In 1901
the family was living at 2 Mills Hill and consisted of Richard
(32), Alice Ann (29) and their 3 sons, Fred (9), Ina (6) and
In 1911 the family are shown at No5 Mills Hill with the addition
of 2 daughters, Eva (6) and Bertha (1). Also living at the same
address was a 76 year old widow Ann Hilton (76) who is possibly
the mother of Alice.
Frank enlisted at Bury on June 15th 1915 where he joined
the 20th (Service) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers (Also known
as the 4th Salford Pals). His address at this time was stated
as 1 Mills Hill, Middleton, Regimental records show that he
was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal of "D" Company,
XIII Platoon. His service number was 21681.
The formation of this particular battalion commenced in
March 1915 and having already raised 3 Salford battalions, it
was decided that the 4th should be a Bantam battalion, specifically
for men with a minimum height of 5 feet 1 inch. Recruiting for
this battalion was slow, due to the height restrictions, (Many
men of this height were miners who were much needed as coal
was a valuable asset to the country as a whole). The 3 previous
Salford Pals Battalions had completed their basic training at
Morfa Camp in North Wales and in late June departed from there
to Catterick in Yorkshire. Around the end of July the camp became
the temporary home of the 20th Battalion. They only stayed at
Morfa until mid August, when they moved to Parkhouse Camp on
Salisbury Plain where they were to remain until 29th January
The Battalion entrained at Tidworth and then left Southampton
for Le Harve arriving on 30th January and from there moved by
rail to via Boulogne to Esquerdes where they remained until
February 9th. The next few days were spent moving towards the
front and training, and the division was inspected by Field
Marshall Lord Kitchener at Racquinghem on the 11th.
On February 27th the Battalion moved into the front line
trenches for the first time.
On 22 April 1916, the following article was published in
the Middleton Guardian and the letter was likely to have been
written on or around 27th February.
PRIVATE FRANK NUTTALL ON THE MARCH OF THE BANTAMS.
An interesting description of the Bantams first march to
the trenches has been sent to his mother at Mills Hill by Private
Frank Nuttall. He says:- We were going to the trenches for the
first time, and everybody was excited in his own particular
way. Here was our "idial" about to be realised. It
was a splendid night for our move, and better still, it was
a splendid night for our spirits. We had been billeted in a
ruined village, not far behind the line, but even during our
stay there we never realised our position. The guns could be
heard; nothing else stirred. Now I want you to fall in with
us. Can you imagine our feelings? Brand new soldiers. How quiet
we were standing there in the village road, everything dead
silence. Now our officer tells us what we are to do, "No
talking, no smoking;" but orders were unnecessary, for
we were all busy with our own thoughts, dreamers all! We start,
slowly we move down the village road, how solemn it looks, standing
out in the bold relief against the stars, such a mark for the
German gunners; and they had made it a target, too. We are now
past the barricades on the low road, which stretches out before
us like a purple ribbon. On either side of us stretch the unploughed
fields. But these fields have eyes, for every now and then a
voice will shout, "Who are you?" "The-----------
---------" . It was the sentry who had halted us. Then
on again. Will we never turn off the road? I stumbled into a
shell hole, the first of many. We've passed the reserve trenches.
Surely that was a man standing there, oh, so still. We speak
no words of intelligence between us - just grunt. We pass on.
Entering the communication trenches needs skill and a sure footing,
we had neither of these gifts, and slipped, chuckled, and rolled
into the trench. This was much different to the first part of
our journey. We had all our time occupied in dragging through
the trench. We elbowed our way for a considerable distance,
soon developing the artistic roll from side to side of the trench.
At last we arrived at the dug-out in the bowels of the earth
- or so it seemed - down steps. As down we went we heard voices,
which soon became clear; many voices speaking at once; a burst
of light, many candles - we had arrived.
Frank is recorded as receiving a Gunshot wound to the right
arm on 23rd July 1916. On this day the Battalion were in trenches
in the Bernafey area. A further (unspecified) wound is recorded
on 21st August 1916, the war diary for this day records the
Battalion were in front line trenches and "Heavy counter
bombardment by enemy inflicted considerable casualties".
There is a note from his mother received by the Regiment on
12th September that states she had received a field card August
27th from him, informing her he was in hospital
Although born in 1899, Frank's enlistment papers give his
age as 19 years 1 month, when he was in fact 16 years old. Within
his surviving service records is a letter from his mother which
was received by the Regiment on 14th September 1915, whist Frank
was still undergoing training at Salisbury. The letter included
a copy of his birth certificate and went on to explain that
"he was only 17 last birthday and I do not wish him to
go to the front" This letter is annotated with "She
must say definitely whether she wishes the discharge, no promises
can be given, concerning men not (illegible) until 19 years
of age. An army memo dated 12th December forwarded this request
to the Company records office in Preston. An undated memo states
"The Officer Commanding 20th L/F informed that his request
for the discharge on account of age cannot be acceded to. Mrs
Nuttall informed accordingly"
His military records confirm the enlistment date above and
Appointed Unpaid Lance Corporal 10.08.15,
Appointed Paid Lance Corporal 20.8.15,
Reverted to Private for improper conduct on Parade 2.10.15.
Posted: (France) 29.1.16
Posted (Home) 24.10.16.
Transferred and Posted 2/1st Herefordshire Regiment 25.10.16
under Authority ACI (Army Council Instruction) 1905/16
Different record cards then record that he Transferred Mons
Regt, 13.7.17. (Monmouthshire Regiment) but one set of records
state this was under the authority of ACI 1499 of 1916 and another
under the authority of WOI (War Office Instruction) No27 Gen
No 6273 ACI of 12.6.17
Transferred to Labour Corps and posted 418th Agricultural Co.
Posted 541st Agricultural Co 22.2.18
A further record dated 2.12.18 records that he was transferred
to the South Wales Borderers (1st Reserve Battalion) on 29.10.18
(This was possibly following his 19th birthday)
Discharged (to Class Z Reserve) 8.3.19
Franks Medals were acknowledged as being received by him
on 16 June 1921. The medals were issued by the Labour Corps
under regimental number 480294 but on the unit line Frank himself
wrote "20th Lancs Fus.
The next available records are the Middleton Voters lists
of 1922. Copies of these (and subsequent years) are available
in Middleton Library. Unfortunately these are indexed by street
and not by name. From the earlier records available it is known
that the family were at No 5 Mills Hill in 1901, No 2 in 1911
and No 1 in 1915 and 1919, however Mills Hill is an area of
Middleton, rather than a road!
The 1909 OS map show that there was a Mills Hill Lane (Now
Mills Hill Road) so the 1911 census was checked to determine
where the family lived. Scrolling backwards through the census
revealed that the previous entry before Mills Hill was 566 Oldham
Road, and a later large scale town plan shows that behind this
address were 1 to 5 "Old Mills Hill". The voters list
confirm this is where the family lived.
Available voters lists were examined, the earliest being
1910, this shows Richard (Franks father) as head of the household
at No5 (where he was living in the 1911 census) and a Frederick
Nuttall at No2 (where Franks family had previously lived). In
the 1922 voters list Frank is listed as living with his mother
at No 1 and this remains the same in 1925 and 1926. The next
available records are 1929, which show Alice Ann and Eva. From
this it can be deduced that Frank left the home between 1926
Various sets of Marriage records were then examined (as
it is possible he left the family home on marriage) but no positive
match could be found.
Returning to the voters lists, in 1932, Alice Ann was still
living at No1 with her two daughters, However Bertha had by
this time become Mrs Percy Harridine. This marriage is recorded
and it was discovered that both passed away in Northampton.
They are listed on a single family tree on Ancestry, but the
tree creator has not been active for some considerable time.
Ancestry has a message system between members and I have sent
a message to the tree owner, in the hope that they will receive
an email notification of the message.
Glen Hopkins (Middleton
In The Great War Facebook page)