Date of birth: 1890
Date of death: 23.08.1916
Area: Outwood, Wakefield
Regiment: 7th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of George and Jane Higgins
Service number: 20089
When war was declared in August 1914, Frank Higgins was still employed by the Light Railway Company. However, in November 1914, he enlisted in the Army, joining the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. After completing his infantry training, Private Frank Higgins joined the 7th KOYLI, in France, on 7th August 1915.
The 7th (Service) Battalion, attached to the 61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division, had sailed for France on 22nd July 1915. There followed a march to the Armentieres area, where they received instruction in trench warfare. Towards the end of September 1915, the 7th KOYLI went into the line in the Laventie sector, three miles north of Neuve Chapelle. The Battle of Loos started on the 25th September, but the 7th KOYLI only played a small part in the action.
The 7th KOYLI remained in Flanders for some time and in February 1916, they were deployed in the northern part of the Ypres Salient. This was a particularly active area and the battalion sustained a number of casualties. In May 1916, the 7th KOYLI was withdrawn to Calais, for rest and recuperation, but were suddenly recalled to the trenches in the centre of the Ypres Salient.
The Battle of the Somme began on the 1st July 1916, but the 7th KOYLI did not move south from the Ypres sector, until 25th July. On 28th July they arrived at Mailly-Maillet and began tours in the front line, within the Redan sector.
On the 20th August 1916, the 7th KOYLI entrained at Candas, for Mericourt, on the Somme and from there marched to Morlancourt. The 7th KOYLI went into the trenches opposite Ginchy, on the 22nd August, at the start of a four day tour, during the Guillemont operations. Though not involved in any attacks, the battalion sustained 50 casualties from enemy shelling, one of whom was Private Frank Higgins
On 23rd August, Frank Higgins was hit on the forehead with a piece of shrapnel, and killed instantaneously, however, his body was not recovered from the battlefield. His name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme battlefield. The Memorial bears the names of more than 72000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died on the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and who have no known grave.
Frank Higgins was born in 1890, the son of George and Jane Higgins of Bowman Street, Sandal Magna, Wakefield. At this time his father, George Higgins, was employed by the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Later, his father became an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company, a post he held for many years.
On leaving school, Frank Higgins was employed by the Wakefield and District Light Railway Company. He worked in the company’s various departments, until he eventually qualified to be a driver, or motor man. Early in 1911, some years after the death of his father, his mother Jane Higgins married William Gledhill. The 1911 census shows Frank and his brother Fred, living at the home of their mother and stepfather, at Park View, Canal Lane, Outwood.