Saturday, December 1, 2007

Frank Westbrook Information

Thanks to Bram Taylor, I have gained a little knowlege about Frank Westbrook.

Francis Edmund Westbrook was born in 1889 at South Yarra in Victoria Australia and died in 1976 aged 87 years in Hawthorn, Victoria.

On enlisting, Frank described his civilian occupation as a cook but in the army he held the rank of Trumpeter in 2 FAB [Field Artillery Brigade. He shipped out on the HMAT Shropshire on 20/10/1914.

Before Gallipoli, Frank (and his regiment) were in Egypt. His records indicate that after months of front line action he was evacuated from Gallipoli with "severe Diarrhoea", this was actually a euphemism for Dysentry. Many soldiers at Gallipoli died from Dysentry and medical staff were under pressure not to report it as such. Frank initially recovered on the Greek island of Lemnos before being returned to England in early 1916.

Frank met, and fell in love with Winifred Eggleton. They were married on 21st June 1918. In fact Franks Army record sports a number of AWOL's during his time in England, obviously love was more important obeying petty deadlines!

With his new wife he returned to his beloved Australia, and as far as I can ascertain lived a normal life back in his homeland. I do not believe he produced another book of poems or prose.

Frank was very much a "working class" hero. While his poems may lack some of the finesse of Sassoon or Auden they are ( at least to me ) deeply moving, especially when he relates to his fallen comrades in poems such as Percy or Good-bye

Occasionally some of the propaganda of the era shows through, but surely this can be forgiven. Frank was a brave ordinary soldier "doing his bit". The world is in short supply of people like Frank and his fallen comrades, we should remember their sacrifice and celebrate their courage.

Kind regards
Bill Rees 4/03/2008


Lyndal said...

Thank you for your time and energy in submitting this website, Bill.

I am Uncle Frank's great great grand daughter. I only found out about his poetry on Saturday after spending an afternoon at my Gran's. She brought out the 'little booklet of poetry' which she and my brother had found at Mitchell Library. What a find!
And, subsequently, what a wonderful surprise when my husband, Mike, found your website!
Much appreciation,
Lyndal Amor

Bill (Transcriber) said...

Dear Lyndal,
I'm really sorry it has taken me over a year to reply, I just did not check for comments!
Thanks for your kind words. Incidently I gather Frank produced another book of poetry in the early 1930's although I have not seen a copy.
Congratulations on being related to a true Australian hero.

Anonymous said...

It may seem hard to believe but I am also related to Frank.E.Westbrook. I havea copy of the bokk given to me by my grandparents. I don't know who he is to me but all I know is that I have a copy of the book. Thankyou for having a blog about someone in my family it has helped me alot as I am in school and doing a project on him.

Anonymous said...

My great uncle Bert was in the same unit as Frank and sent a letter home to his family which contained two of Frank's poems.
They are published here