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Sapper Frank Trask-Royal Engineers- DCM actions at Langerwachte Spruit 10 years 7 months ago #510

  • elandslaagte
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1528. Sapper. Frank Trask served during the Boer war with 37th Field Company, Royal Engineers.
Sapper Frank Trask was awarded the DCM for the actions at Langerwachte Spruit on the 23 February 1900: London Gazette 19 April 1900:submitted to the King 18 April1901 (Sir R.Buller’s despatch of the 30 March 1900): “coolness and gallant behaviour when making a sandbag wall across railway bridge at Langerwachte Spruit ,Feb 23 under heavy fire’
Times History Volume III page 524 describes ‘The boers were in force higher up the Langverwacht valley, and the moment the head of the column appeared on the bridge, opened a heavy rifle and pom-pom fire on it. The men crossed over in single rushes, but, even so, many were hit. A more serious matter than the casualties was the further delay involved. After the bridge, henceforth known as pom-pom Bridge, the column took to the bank again. This at first,however,afforded little cover, and several men killed, lay there the rest of the brigade to step over, their feet imbedded in the mud and their heads in the river’
Frank served throughout the war and went onto serve in WWI (WO372/20) with the Royal West Kent Regiment and then onto The Queens Own Regiment as a Captain (WO339/18019)
I have not much info on this soldier and welcome any info regarding his career, especially his service.His medal group consists of 5 clasp QSA-Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek (Corpl) KSA-1902,1902. 1914 Star (C.S Mjr,.R.E.)British War medal
And Victory Medal(2 Lieut)
I believe that Frank Trask was not the only individual to receive the DCM -17858 CSMjr,J.H.Smith from 17 Field Company was awarded the DCM for the same action.
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Re: Sapper Frank Trask-Royal Engineers- DCM actions at Langerwachte Spruit 10 years 7 months ago #511

  • Brett Hendey
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That is a very fine group of medals. The duties of Engineers often required that they be with or even ahead of the advancing infantry so, while their medals are sometimes underrated, they were often hard won.

I was once told that many of the MM's awarded to South Africans in World War II went to Engineers who cleared roads, built bridges and so on while under fire.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Sapper Frank Trask-Royal Engineers- DCM actions at Langerwachte Spruit 10 years 7 months ago #514

  • elandslaagte
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Hi Brett,
Thank you. The action of Sappers are always critical in any operation, they form the backbone of support for the infantry to advance and hold position by supporting with all types of construction.[Roads,Bridges,Pontoons etc]
As you mention,many times under enemy fire, still much the same today as the sappers experienced in the above mentioned action.
Regards
Elandslaagte

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Sapper Frank Trask-Royal Engineers- DCM actions at Langerwachte Spruit 3 months 1 week ago #79232

  • Traskjordan
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Hello,

That is my grandfathers brother I can email two photos of
The trophies that survived in the family(too large to let me attach). Apparently many trophies and medals had been sold during the depression.
If you know more history I would greatly appreciate it and possibly I could answer questions you might have.

Cheers,

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Sapper Frank Trask-Royal Engineers- DCM actions at Langerwachte Spruit 2 months 1 week ago #79829

  • JC
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From the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 17 May 1900:

'Sapper Frank Trask of the 37th Company, Royal Engineers, son of Mr Alfred Trask of Broadway, Merriott, has been promoted Lance Corporal for bravery in building up a sandbag wall during bridging operations on the Tugela under a heavy fire. The announcement of the promotion was made at a parade 10,000 troops, and Trask was the only sapper in the Company of 217 men to be mentioned. He has reason to be proud of the promotion, as he is under 21 years of age, and has only been in the Army about two years. Advancement in the Royal Engineers is by very slow as a rule. Trask, who was with Sir Charles Warren's Army, has seen a good deal of fighting.'

A few more details pulled from various sources: Trask was born in 1898 at Broadway, Merriott, Chard, Somerset. He married Mary Elizabeth Rex in 1908 and had risen to Sergeant by 1911. Served in France during the Great War as Company Sergeant Major 5th Field Company, R.E. from 15 August 1914 and was discharged to a commission in the Royal West Kent Regiment on 30 October 1914 after 16 years 292 days in the ranks (Commissioned 2nd Lieut. 5 Nov 14). Served in 1st Battalion att. General Staff. Hospitalised with rheumatism at Queen Alexandra's, Millbank on 4 Jan 15, discharged 14 January 1915. Promoted Lieutenant 10 June 1915. Made temporary Captain, 18 February 1916, whilst employed as a Commandant of a Training Centre Grenade School. Substantive Captain 21 Nov 1917. Retired on retirement pay, 30 April 1919.

Note: Trask's name is misspelled Trash in his DCM entry in the London Gazette of 19 April 1900
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