Francis Joseph (Frank) Steffan

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Francis Joseph (Frank) Steffan
Personal Information
Date of Birth unknown
"unknown" contains an extrinsic dash or other characters that are invalid for a date interpretation.
Place of Birth 'Kings End' Attonvale, Queensland
Death 14 Jul 1959, aged 76
Place of Death Mt Lawley, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 33 years old
Description 5'6" (1.68m) tall ; 146 lbs
66.224 kg
; fair complexion ; brown eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Locomotive driver
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Karragullen, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Joseph Steffan
Military Information
Reg Number 1885
Date of Enlistment 22 Oct 1916
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 2nd Australian Light Railway Operating Company
Date of Embarkation 11 May 1917 ‒ 19 Jul 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A11 Ascanius
Date of Return 21 Jun 1919 ‒ 3 Aug 1919
Ship Returned On SS Königin Luise
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Kelmscott War Memorial (South panel)
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entries - 1912 Barrabupp, fireman; 1914 Dwellingup; 1916 main camp, Kurrawang, engine-driver;

War Service

On entering camp, Frank was initially assigned to the 9th reinforcement for the 51st Battalion, later changed to the 6th reinforcement draft for the 39th Battalion, and then the 24th reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion, before eventually it was decided to send him to Broadmeadows camp in Victoria on 14 Apr 1917 to become one of the early members of the newly formed 5th Section, Australian Railway Troops.

He was quickly given the rank of Temporary Cpl and on 11 May 1917 sailed with the unit for England, via Fremantle, Mauritius, Durban, Cape Town, and Sierra Leone, arriving in Devonport on 19 Jul 1917. On arrival in England they are sent to St Lucia Barracks in Bordon, East Hampshire to find that they were soon after redesignated as the 16th (Australian) Railroad Operating Company.

In late August they received their disembarkation leave, before preparing to leave for France. On 5 Sep 1917 the unit embarked in Southampton for France via Folkestone, but Frank was designated as a reinforcement, and so he left England 10 days later from Folkestone for Calais with 36 others. On 22 Sep 1917 they joined up with their unit in Belgium.

Although formally a part of the Australian Engineers, they did not come under Australian control, but were part of the British 2nd Army support forces in the Belgium section of the Western Front for most of their time. Often they were used to transport either German prisoners, or wounded men to the rear during the major battles fought in the Ypres salient, but most often their role was to move ammunition, weapons, and food from the heay rail network to dumps or units just behind the front lines. From 15 Oct 1917 until 17 Apr 1918 Frank was loaned to Canadian Railroad Operating units.

On 28 Feb 1918 they were again redesignated, this time as the 2nd Light Railway Operating Company. Frank was granted UK leave from 3 - 16 Aug 1918 and Paris leave from 8-19 Feb 1919 before returning to England on 2 May 1919 to prepare for his return to Australia. Soon after his arrival in the UK he married Delia Willis in London on 10 May 1919.

Discharged 5th Military District 2 Sep 1919.

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 Lowden, engine driver; 1931 Delia was at 17 Alma road North Perth; 1936 Frank at No 4 State Mill, engine driver; 1937 - 1943 Hakea; 1949 - 1958 he had joined Delia at 17 Alma road, North Perth. Delia's death and burial records give her name as Bridget, and she died 28 Jan 1962 in Mt Lawley, aged 74. Buried with Frank in Karrakatta Cemetery.

Son Norman Walker (19 Nov 1920 - 15 Jun 2009); son James Pat (5 Jan 1924 - 8 Jul 1944). Son Flight Sgt James Pat Steffan RAAF missing in air operations over Cougart, France on 8 Jul 1944, believed to have been KIA. Brother Norman in the AIF.


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