Private Frank William Bending

Thank you to Jane Anthony for the following research.

Frank William Bending was born in Abinger Common in about 1893; he was the only child of Ernest and Elizabeth Bending. Both his parents had been born in the West Country and had moved to Abinger, possibly because of Ernest’s employment as a butler.

By 1911, Frank was 18 and earning his living as a grocer’s assistant. He enlisted in the 12th Lancers in London on 2nd December 1915. At the time of enlisting he was 5ft 7ins tall and could be distinguished by a tattoo of the American flag on his right arm.

He was mobilised on 9th February 1916. He served in the Lancers until November 1916 when he was transferred to the 7th Battalion East Kent Regiment, known as The Buffs, one of the oldest infantry regiments in the British Army and can trace their history back to 1572. The 7th Battalion had been formed at Canterbury in September 1914, deployed to France and had taken part in many of the major battles. Frank Bending was probably one of many young men who were posted to the regiment to replace others who had either been killed or discharged from the army; he was posted to the Front Line on 2nd December 1916.

Frank Bending was killed on 4th August 1917 and is commemorated at the Hooge Crater Cemetery at Zillebeke. The area had changed hands between the Germans and British several times since 1914. The cemetery was begun in October 1917, and many of those buried were reinterred from smaller cemeteries after the end of the war. There are now 5,916 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 3,570 of the burials are unidentified, but special memorials record the names of a number of casualties either known or believed to be buried among them, or whose graves in other cemeteries were destroyed by shellfire. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

By the time that Frank was commemorated his parents had moved to Redhill.

Born Abinger Common, Surrey
Lived Holmbury St. Mary, Surrey
Son of Ernest and Elizabeth Bending
Regiment 7th Battalion. East Kent Regiment “The Buffs”
Number 13277
Date of Death 4th August 1917
Place of Death Near Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 24
Memorial Hooge Crater Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium
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