Frank Ogden was born in Oldham on May 9th 1895. His parents were James, an Oldhamer, and Sarah Ellen who originally hailed from Bolton. Frank was their fourth of five children; his siblings being Olive, Lily, James and Wilfred. By the time Frank was four years old the family were living in Royton and in 1900 his father became the landlord of the Halfway House pub, later running a grocers and sweet shop at 4 Castleton Road. Frank attended the Fir Lane Primitive Methodist School and upon leaving started his working life as a piecer in one of the local mills and at the time of his enlistment was a minder at the Grape Mill.
Frank enlisted on July 15th 1915 in Royton into the 181st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and then underwent training at various locations, including Blackpool and Aldershot. In March 1916 Frank was sent for active duty in France. Before doing so he had gotten engaged, to Nellie Spencer. He became a gunner of 92 Battery of the RFA's17th Brigade. The 17th Brigade were part of the artillery compliment of the 29th Division and were involved during 1916 in the actions during the Battle of the Somme known as the Battle of Albert and the the Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
Frank was promoted to Lance Bombardier whilst in the field on November 10th 1916 and by the time of his death had progressed further and was an Acting Bombardier.
Date of Death:12/04/1917
Regiment:Royal Field Artillery
Cemetery:Tilloy British Cemetery
Grave Ref:Sp.Mem III.F.17.Buried near this spot
On April 9th 1917 a major British offensive began, the Battle of Arras, and Frank's unit was involved in the sector of fighting known as the First Battle of the Scarpe. On April 12th Frank and two others alongside him were killed, probably from German artillery fire. He was first buried at Maison-Rouge British Cemetery and once the war was over was disinterred and reburied at Tilloy British Cemetery. The exact spot isn't known but he has a gravestone commemorating him there. The two men killed with him were 20 year old Gunner Ernest Bray, 34353, from Oldham and 26 year old Sergeant J.A Hinchcliffe,67000, from Huddersfield. Bray's service number indicates that he joined the RFA at the same time as Frank and would have gone through training with him.
After Frank's death he was described in the Oldham Chronicle as being "a fine young fellow and well known in the district".
The following notices appeared in the same newspaper in April 1918 and April 1919.
In sad but loving memory of Bombardier Frank Ogden,of the RFA,
killed in action on the 12th April 1917, aged 21.
Just to have seen him and clasped his hand
Before he was called to the Better Land.
His troubles are o'er, god saw it best
To call him home to a beautiful rest.
Ever in our thoughts
From Mother, Father, Sisters,Brother and Nellie
In loving memory of our dear son and brother,
Bombr.F.Ogden, RFA, who was killed in action
April 12th 1917.
Gone is the face we loved so dear,
Silent the voice we longed to hear;
Far,too far, from sight of speech,
But not too far for our thoughts to reach.
Anchored by love death cannot sever,
O,how we miss him, and will do for ever.
Ever remembered by his Mother, Father,
Sisters and Brothers and Nellie
Frank's mother died in 1932 aged 66 and his father followed in 1936 aged 71. They are buried together at Royton Cemetery along with his sister Olive Crowther who died in 1921 aged 31.
A Royal Field Artillery Battery in action on April 11th 1917 at the First Battle of the Scarpe