At Wolverhampton Archives we recently purchased Andrew Thornton’s excellent books, South Staffords at War: August 1914 – December 1915 (volumes 1 and 2), which obviously feature many local men. Some of them have already been featured in this blog, but there are many more. One of these is Frank William Brentnall. He was the son of William T. and Catherine/Katherine A. Brentnall, and was born in Wolverhampton in 1887. On the 1891 census he appears with his parents and a boarder, William Perry, at 2 Temple Street, Wolverhampton. By 1901 they were living at 21 Green Lane.
Frank enlisted at Lichfield as a Private with the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 7044), and by 1911 he was serving in Gibraltar. He later transferred to the 2nd Battalion, disembarking for France on 12 August 1914. During his service he was awarded both the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. On 20 February 1915, Frank was killed in action at Givenchy, in France. One of his friends, Private G. Merrick, wrote an account to his brother Charles of how he was killed, which was quoted in the Express & Star on 4 March 1915.
Dear brother…I am very sorry to let you know that our old chum, Private Brentnall, was killed on the 20th February. When they had made a charge they came back to their own trenches. Brentnall went back to fetch a wounded comrade. He had got to his own trench and was just getting in as the Germans shot him. He was a very brave man, and we are all very sorry that he could not get in safely again. I shall see that he has a good cross on his grave…Tell them that he was one of the bravest soldiers that England ever enlisted. If he has gone we are all proud of his name. Tell his relatives in Wolverhampton that he died a hero.
He is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, in France.