22288 Private Frank William Theaker, 15th
(Service) Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
Born in Sheffield, Enlisted at Sheffield.
Killed In Action 1st July 1916, Age Unknown.
No record of any next of kin details
Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme,
France. Pier and Face 14A and 15C.
Points of Note;
1) Again this Theaker has a 5 digit number and so
as a rough guess this would put his enlistment period to perhaps around early
to mid 1915.
2) Again there is no known grave as such and he is
remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. Again it is difficult to
say if he ever did have a grave that was later lost or not, but in this case
it is my gut feeling that there may never have been a grave and his body was
3) I have been unable to locate any information as
what age he was or any next of kin details.
The 15th (Service) Battalion was formed at
Newcastle on Tyne in September 1914 as part of K 3 and moved to Halton
Park to join the formation of 64th Brigade, 21st Division. In December 1914
they moved into billets in Maidenhead. In April 1915 they moved back to
Halton Park and in July 1915 to Witley. On the 11th September 1915 they landed
at Boulogne and remained in France and Flanders with the same formation for
the rest of the war. At the end of the war they were located at Berlaimont,
During the war the Durham Light Infantry gained a
total of 59 Battle Honours, 6 member's of the Regiment won the Victoria Cross,
and the total casualties for the Regiment between August 1914 and November
1918 was 12,530 men killed.
From a pre war establishment of 2 Regular, 2
Reserve and 5 Territorial Battalions, by the end of the war the DLI had formed
a total of 42 Battalions for war service.
At the time of Franks death the 15th (Service)
Battalion was in the following formation, 4th Army, XV Corps, 21st Division,
64th Brigade and he would have been killed at some part during the Battle of
Albert (1st -13th July).
The 1st of July 1916 was the first day of the
Battle of the Somme (1st July - 18th November 1916). During the Battle the
21st Division took part in the following subsidiary attacks;
Battle of Albert 1st - 13th July
Battle of Bazentin 14th - 17th July
Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15th - 22nd September
(* This was the first battle that tanks were used in).
Battle of Morval 25th - 28th September
Battle of Le Transloy 1st - 18th October
The XV Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir
Henry Horne, consisting of the 7th, 21st and 17th Divisions had to attack the
hinge of the German line at the Fricourt salient. The German defences between
the villages of Fricourt and Mametz were particularly strong, a 1,200 yard
deep maze of trenches, wire and fortified houses. However the Germans did not
have enough troops to defend the position, with just 6 Battalions of the 28th
Reserve Division. The 21st Division was to push east, take Fricourt and Mametz
and press on up the axis of the "Willow Stream" towards Mametz Wood.
By night it had taken ground north of Fricourt while the 7th Division had
taken Mametz. Then however their attacks were held. The assault on Fricourt
was halted after terrible losses. By the end of the day XV Corps could claim
that it had made good progress on the flanks of the attack and had taken 1,500
prisoners. On the other hand, the Fricourt bastion was still unsubdued and XV Corps
had lost a total of 8,791 men killed and wounded by the end of the first day, nearly
half of them from the 21st Division. Firing from the German line ceased at
dusk and the British stretcher bearers were then able to go forward and
collect thousands of wounded men from in front of the German lines.
There is a museum and a book.
The book is called "Faithful, The story of
the Durham Light Infantry" SGP Ward 1962. covers parts of WW1 with maps
and all DLI Battalions.
Durham Light Infantry Museum
Durham DH1 5TU
The museum holds various bits of information, some
lists of names, reports from some Battalions, some copies of war diaries.
However a phone call first to check