Frank was one of five children, was born in Northwich, Cheshire on 1st February 1897 to Henry and Elizabeth Cross who were, at the time, resident at Chester Road, Northwich.
He was admitted to Ellesmere College on 29th September 1911 when there were only one hundred and sixty pupils on the nominal roll. He was allocated to the ‘Alfred’ dormitory and Form ‘Upper IV’ under the guidance of Mr. C. E. Andrews. He remained at the college until June 1913.
He was confirmed on 31st May 1912, played football and cricket for his dormitory and was a member of the Officer Training Corps. There are no records relating to his academic achievements.
The Ellesmerian (July 1915) recorded that he had been admitted to the membership of “The Institute of Mechanical and County Engineers “. He was articled to Mr. John Brooke, Surveyor to Norwich Urban Council. A report in the Liverpool Echo of 9th February 1917 stated that ‘he showed considerable promise as an architect and surveyor”.
Frank enlisted at Chester as Private Cross, Service No.2235 with the 31st Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers. During the war over 235,000 men wore the Fusilier Badge and just under 22,000 of them paid the ultimate price for their loyalty. Frank served in the 31st Royal Fusiliers, attached to the 12th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) that was formed in Hounslow in September 1914.
A year later, in September 1915, the main body of the 12th Battalion disembarked from the steamer ’The Queen’ at Boulogne and mobilised for war. They were engaged in various actions over the next few years including the Battle of Loos, the German gas attack at Wulverghem, the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Guillemont. In 1917 they were involved in the Battles of Vimy Ridge, Messines, Pilkem Ridge and Langermark.
The authorative book “The Royal Fusiliers in the Great War” describes some of the conditions the men experienced in the winter of 1916 / 17 “ … Just north of Loos a more elaborate raid was carried out in broad daylight on 26th January by the 12th Battn., in conjunction with the 8th Buffs. Of the Fusiliers, 4 officers and 100 other ranks were engaged. The German front and supply lines were reached, dug outs were bombed, many Germans were killed and sixteen were taken prisoner. The German barrage of No-Man’s Land and the Fusiliers’ front and communicating trenches was accurately placed. All the officers were wounded…….there were 24 other rank casualties….”.
Frank was killed in action on 26th January 1917. Lieutenant Stewart wrote to the family:
“The loss of such a fine soldier as your son was, is, felt by us all in the company to which he was attached and in expressing to you my deepest and heartfelt sympathy I express the sentiments of those who were your son’s friends and comrades in arms…..”
Frank was buried in the Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe and his life is commemorated on memorials at Ellesmere College and Northwich.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank 'The Ellesmerian Club' for the research and photograph of Frank.