Francis William Wakeham

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Francis William Wakeham
Personal Information
Date of Birth 30 Jun 1872
Place of Birth Port Sorell, Latrobe, Tasmania
Death 20 Jul 1926, aged 53
Place of Death Yandina, Queensland, buried Gympie cemetery
Age at Enlistment 43 years, 8 months
Description 6'1½" (1.87m) tall ; 150 lbs
68.039 kg
; dark complexion ; blue eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Railway goods porter
Religion Church of England
Address NOK Glen Forrest, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Mary Matilda Wakeham
Military Information
Reg Number 2969
Date of Enlistment 27 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 5th Pioneer Battalion, 6th Reinforcements / 5th Division
Date of Embarkation 28 Oct 1916 ‒ 28 Dec 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A16 Port Melbourne
Date of Return 26 Sep 1917 ‒ 12 Nov 1917
Ship Returned On HMAT A30 Borda
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Armadale panel)
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal

Pre War

On 10 Mar 1897 Frank married Hermione Shakespeare(1878-1945) in Zeehan, Tasmania. A daughter Elsie Diana was born 4 Apr 1898 and died 21 days later on 25 Apr 1898. In 1909 in WA Frank married a second time, to Mary Matilda Coles (1885-1940), probably without the formality of a divorce from Hermione.

Electoral Roll entries - 1903 Francis, farm labourer at Ferguson; 1907 Woodanilling; 1916 - 1917 with Mary at Armadale. At Jarrahdale in 1916 Frank was for a time the President of the Amalgamated Timber Workers Union.

War Service

Frank was allocated to a number of different units while undergoing initial training. On 4 Apr 1916 he was sent to signalling school, before on 21 Jun 1916 being allocated to the reinforcement draft for the Tunnelling Corps. Finally on 4 Sep 1916 he was allocated to the 6th reinforcement draft for the 5th Pioneer Battalion with whom he sailed to England[1].

On arrival he was posted to the Pioneer Training Battalion at Larkhill.

Between 29 Jan and 21 Feb 1917 Frank was at the School of Musketry at Tidworth where he qualified 1st Class at the 7th Rifle Course, and passed as having a fair knowledge of the Lewis Gun. His next posting was to the 15th Training Battalion. He attended a Group Range Finder Course in Fovant commencing 2 Jul 1917, but on 4 Sep 1917 when he arrived in Weymouth, he had reverted from Acting Corporal to Private so that he can return to Australia due to senility and Fibrositis.

Post War

1917 Frank was awarded a pension of 30/- per fortnight from 5 Dec 1917. His wife Mary Matilda received a pension of 15/- fortnightly; son Ivan Francis Allan (13 Apr 1911 - 13 Dec 2004), a pension of 10/- per fortnight; son Francis William (19 Oct 1912 - 18 Oct 1998) a pension of 7/6d per fortnight; daughter Mary Matilda (19 Oct 1912 - ) 5/- per fortnight; daughter Elsie Elizabeth (1917 - 10 Apr 1994)5/- per fortnight.

Electoral Roll entries - 1918 , the family is living in Northam when the pensions were approved; 1919 at Beerburrum (10 km north of Caboolture, Qld), farmer ; 1925 at Maroochy River, Yandina, Queensland, farmer.

In 1936 Mary was at Maroochy River, Yandina, Qld; 1937 Hunt's, Johnstown (north of Nanango, Qld),daughter by same name a fruiterer in Goomeri, 1943 - 1949 Noosa Heads, Tewantin Qld.


In 1922 a Mrs Hermione Wakeham [nee Shakespeare], "Kyjura" 41 Woollcott street, Darlinghurst, Sydney in NSW had sought the Army's assistance in locating him (she claimed he had deserted her in 1900), so that she could claim some assistance from his gratuity or separation allowance. (Tasmanian BDM records list their marriage in 1897 while Frank was the Mine Manager of Hercules Mine at Mound Read, Tasmania.) Military records show a different woman (Mrs Mary Matilda Wakeham) living in Glen Forrest as his wife.


  1. "The Drill of the Foot-Hills" (PDF) (1917). Western Australia. Mar 1917. p. 7. Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via State Library of Western Australia. 

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