Private Frank Collinson

Frank Collinson was born in about 1880 and until 1913, lived his entire life at Lavender Cottage, Holmbury St Mary. His parents, Herbert and Ellen had married in 1877 at St James Church, Shere. They had four children, two boys and two girls, Frank was their youngest son. Herbert seems to have had a variety of job as, at one time he was living in Godalming as an apprentice carpenter and at the time of his marriage he gave his occupation as grocer. In 1891 and 1911 he was working as a general labourer but in 1901 he was a coachman or groom. Frank earned his living as a carpenter and was still living at home with his parents and two younger sisters at the time of the 1911 census. His older brother appears to have left the family home prior to 1901.

In June 1913, he embarked from Southampton for Sydney on “Orama” It is not known how long he stayed in Australia but he was living in New Zealand by 1916. He enlisted in the 1st Battalion Otago Regiment and left Wellington 1st May 1916 arriving at Suez on “Ulimcroa” on the 9th June.   He was part of the 12th Reinforcements of the Otago regiment and was in the 1st Battalion “D” Company.   At the time of his enlistment he gave his occupation as being a photographer,

The New Zealand Division joined the Battle of the Somme in early September 1916. The division arrived to take part in the third big push of the offensive, designed to crack the German lines once and for all. When it withdrew from the line a month later, a decisive breakthrough had not been achieved; it is probable that Private Collinson took part in the battle where many New Zelanders lost their lives.

Frank Collinson last his life on 6th May at Messines. Although the battle did not officially start until June a lot of preparatory work had already been on going for two years. At the time he was killed, much tunnelling and mine laying was being done. He was buried at the Maple Leaf Cemetery, which as the name implies was mostly for Canadian troops killed in the battle; however there are also several New Zealanders buried there who were killed at about the same time as Frank Collinson.

At the time of his death his mother was his next of kin, he did not have any family in New Zealand. He is remembered on the Holmbury St Mary War Memorial and the On Line Cenotaph of the Auckland Museum.

Born                            Holmbury St. Mary, Surrey
Lived                           Holmbury St. Mary, Surrey

Son of                          Herbert and Ellen of Lavender Cottage

Regiment                     1st Battalion Otago Regiment. New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Number                        11239

Date of Death               6th May 1917
Place of Death              Messines, Belgium
Cause of Death            Killed in action

Age                               37

Cemetery                      Maple Leaf Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium