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3/460 Private Francis (Frank) William Walsh


 

 

Francis William Walsh was born in Marton, New Zealand on 4th February 1890 the son of Augusta & William Walsh.[i] Francis’s sister Bertha Walsh is listed as his next of kin in his enlistment papers.[ii]

Francis (Frank) was working as a farm hand at the Porirua Mental Hospital in 1914 where, on 21st September 1914, he was one of nine men[iii] connected to the hospital who all enlisted at the same time in the New Zealand Medical Corps. Private Walsh’s Attestation papers are signed by Major Alexander Cameron McKillop, who prior to the war, was a doctor and acting Superintendant at the hospital.  Doctor McKillop had been part of the Porirua Hospital association football (soccer) team as were seven of the nine men who enlisted.[iv]

Initial training was at Trentham Camp and on 14th December 1914, 3/460 Private Walsh, 2nd Reinforcements, Mounted Ambulance, New Zealand Medical Corps sailed for Egypt. In Egypt rather than prepare for action in France the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) trained for action in the Dardanelles and with reduced need for mounted troops Private Walsh was transferred from the Mounted Ambulance to the Field Ambulance. It was with this unit, on 12th April 1915, he sailed for the landings at Gallipoli, also sailing were four others from the nine who enlisted, Privates Heath, Foster, Munro and Topham.  Private Walsh served at ANZAC Cove until he was evacuated on 27th June 1915, probably with enteric fever, to Egypt where he was hospilised.[v] Private Walsh remained in hospital until 7th August 1915 when he was discharged for duty. On 28th September 1915 Private Walsh was considered fit enough to assist nursing wounded soldiers returning to New Zealand on the SS Willochra[vi].

 
  Walsh  
 

The homecoming from Gallipoli

 “On 15 July 1915, SS Willochra arrived in Wellington carrying the first wave of New Zealand wounded from the Gallipoli Peninsula. Bowring’s ‘The homecoming from Gallipoli illustrates the poignant loss-of-innocence moment when civilian New Zealanders first confronted the grim reality of wounds, amputations, psychological trauma and death. The painting is dominated by a seemingly unending line of khaki and bandages zigzagging down from the ship into a jostling throng of anxious civilians. A flag and coloured streamer hang limply, suggesting that the families waiting at the dock had expected a victorious celebration, not a parade of exhausted men.”[vii]

In New Zealand Private Walsh was assessed again and while declared ‘medically unfit for active service but medically fit for civil employment’ and was discharged 28th December 1915.

Francis Walsh returned to work at Porirua Mental Hospital where he was working when he was called, in April 1916, as a witness in an assault case where in the words of the time in the New Zealand Truth -

‘Attendants of the Porirua Lunatic Emporium assaulted two village boys –The Nut-Case employees had assaulted the two village boys over the pinching of their tarts (girls)’[viii]

Frank was successful in 1916/17 in the ballot for land created under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act in the Takapau area of Hawkes Bay. In 1918 Francis William Walsh married Elizabeth Boyce Campbell[ix] and in 1925 Frank’s medals were sent to him at his farm in Takapau, Hawkes Bay.[x]

In 1927 Francis William Walsh a 36 year old ‘soldier-settler’ was killed in an accident when a car he was a passenger in collided with the Wellington – Napier mail train at a crossing in Waipukarau.[xi]

Allan Dodson – March 2015

References:

Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/460 Private Francis William Foley

Paintings:

The home coming from Gallipoli: Walter Armiger Bowring (1916) Archives NZ (AAAC 898 NCWA 532)



[i] Internal Affairs New Zealand – Birth, Deaths & Marriages: Birth Francis William Walsh (1890/16695)

[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/460 Private Francis William Walsh

[iii] Hospital staff enlisting 21st September 1914: J Alexander*, A Foley* H Foster*, H Heath*, K Munro, P Roots*, W Skinner*, A Topham & F Walsh*. (* Hospital AFC Players)

[iv] Hospital Association Footballer players: J Alexander, A Foley, H Foster, H Heath, P Roots, W Skinner, F Walsh. 

[v] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/460 Private Francis William Walsh

[vi] Also travelling on the SS Willochra 11/400A Trooper A Foley who had enlisted with Walsh

[vii] The Home coming from Gallipoli: NZ History online

[viii] NZ Truth – 8 April 1916: Parochial Porirua

[ix] Internal Affairs New Zealand – Birth, Death & Marriages: Marriage - Campbell/Walsh (1918/1366)

[x] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/460 Private Francis William Walsh

[xi] Evening Post 10 August 1927: Death of Soldier Settler: Evening Post 10/08/1927

 
Last Updated: 30/03/2015 7:33pm