Frank Henry Close

Memorial: Olveston

Regiment: Canadian Infantry

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Private 3205113

Parents: Edwin and Mary Close

Home address: Inst (Ingst), Elberton then 9 Logan Avenue in Toronto then 2213 26 Street in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Pre-war occupation: Railway Worker

Date of birth: 1891

Place of birth: Canada

Date of death: 10/02/2019

Buried/Commemorated at: Huy (La Sarte) Communal Cemetery (I. B. 20.), Leige, Belgium

Age: 28

Further information:

Frank Close was one of a large family of at least eight children who, in 1901, were living at a cottage in Ingst, though at the time it was referred to as Inst and considered, at least for the purposes of the census, to be part of Elberton. With parents Edwin and Mary Close, the family had previously lived at Worthy Farm on Old Passage Road. Frank had two elder brothers and two elder sisters plus two younger brothers and a sister. The two older boys, George and William worked on farms, as did their father. Sometime after the turn of the century, the family moved to Canada, living at 9 Logan Avenue in Toronto. By January 1918 Frank had journeyed further west and was living at 2213 26 Street in Calgary, Alberta, and was a single man working on the railways when he decided to join up. He was appropriately assigned to the Alberta Regiment’s 10th Battalion, a railway construction unit, which had been formed exactly one year before

By the time that Frank Close joined the rest of his Battalion after his training in Canada, they were working on the railway line from Dunkirk to Brussels. By September 1918 they started work connecting the Allied light railway lines to the German ones, making repairs behind the Allied forces advancing from the Ypres Salient with additional work at Roubaix and Lille. The War Diary entry for 11 November 1918 simply records that the Battalion was at Valenciennes some 40 miles to the east of Arras, “the weather was cloudy and cool. At 1100hours hostilities were suspended.”

The Battalion started its return to Canada at the end January 1919 but by then Frank Close had become an influenza victim and on 10 February 1919 he was buried in Huy (La Sarte) Communal Cemetery, 15 miles south-west of Liège in Belgium

Twenty-one million people had died as a direct result of the war, and there was revolution in Russia, chaos in Europe and civil unrest in the defeated Germany. Added to this was an influenza pandemic, which claimed the lives of many of those who had suffered deprivations during the Great War, almost 80% of the deaths of American servicemen in the war were as a result of influenza. Originating in China, though known as Spanish Flu, it spread throughout the world and is claimed to have caused the death of between 20 and 50 million people

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC