Just Another Pair Of Socks

Melton District ANZACS

Francis James (Frank) NEAL


Frank Neal in POW camp

Born: 6 May, 1891

Birth registration: Victorian Births, Deaths & Marriages Registration No. 15174

Birthplace: Melton, Victoria

Parents: John Jack Neal b. 06/08/1862 at Talbetts Inn, Wakool River, NS.W. 27/04/1887
Catherine Mary Luby - Married at Melton.

Died: 12 September, 1951

Place of death: 10 William Street, Mentone, Victoria

Burial place: New Cheltenham Cemetery, Cheltenham, Victoria 14/09/1951

Awards and Honours

  • British War Medal 1914-20
  • Victory Medal


14th Battalion, 17th Reinforcements



Regimental Service Number: 5422

Enlistment date: 22 January, 1916 Melbourne

Age at enlistment: 24 years 8 months

Address at enlistment: Melton Post Office, Melton

Religion: Roman Catholic

Marital Status: Single

Next of kin: Father: John Neal, engine driver, C/- Post Office, Melton

Physical Description: Height: 5 feet 6 inches
Weight: 135 pounds
Complexion: Dark
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Dark Brown
Distinctive marks: Scar Left knee; 2 moles abdomen

Embarkation ship: H.M.A.T. A14 Euripides.

Rank: Private

Return Date: 16 March, 1918

Return Vessel: H.S. Kanowra.

Arrival at Australia: 22 May, 1918.

Discharge Date: 3 September, 1918

War Service Summary

22/01/1916 - Enlisted
01/03/1916 31/03/1916 - Trained at Geelong and Broadmeadows
04/04/1916 - Embarked for overseas
06/06/1916 - At Alexandria, to proceed to England
16/06/1916 - Disembarked Plymouth
21/07/1916 - Proceeded overseas to France
26/07/1916 - Marched into the 4th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples
18/08/1916 - In the field, Etaples, France
28/08/1916 - Wounded in Action, France. Gunshot wound shoulder, back - slight.
31/08/1916 - Transferred to England per St. Denis exit Boulogne
01/09/1916 - Admitted to Auxillary Military Hospital
04/12/1916 - Proceed Overseas ex. Princess Victoria
05/12/1916 - Etaples, France
06/12/1916 - Short time in hospital
06/01/1917 - Etaples, France
11/02/1917 - Rejoined unit
11/04/1917 - Wounded in Action: "At Bullecourt on April 11 in the second German line I saw him get hit through the top of the left chest near the shoulder. The wound did not bleed much. I bound it up. I saw him start to walk back to the D/S. He had to go through a zone of heavy M.G. fire to get there. He came from Melton, Victoria. Initials: F.J. His number had 4 figures and began with 54. He was in A.." - H.J. Pulford, 5436, Etaples, 10.5.17. (Red Cross Record)
11/04/1917 - Reported Missing
11/04/1917 - Wounded and captured, Gun Shot Wound left shoulder German record (P. 19 Serv. Rec.)
09/05/1917 - Letter from British Help Committee confirms Prisoner of War: Interred at Lazarett Bergkaserne Munster, i.W Germany (P 19 Serv. Rec.)
02/01/1918 - Transferred to Holland. Arrived in Holland.
07/01/1918 - Arrived in England; Repatriated Prisoner of War; admitted to military hospital Bagthorpe, Nottingham Gun Shot Wound Left shoulder
15/01/1918 - Condition Satisfactory able to be up and out
28/01/1918 - Transferred to Auxilliary Hospital, Harefield
June/ July 1918 - 3 periods of A.W.L.; 1 day,
1 day, 18 days; 24 days pay forfeited.
16/03/1918 - Embarked from England
15/04/1918 - Embarked from Suez
22/05/1918 - Arrived in Australia:
03/09/1918 - Discharged

War Service Commemerated

Life After the War

Names of wife and children:
1920 - Married Annie

Keith (dec by 1951)
Noel, Nance (Mrs P. Mulvogue in 1951)

Place/s of residence:
1914 and 1919 - Diggers Rest
20/02/1922 - C/- Buffalo Post Office, South Gippsland.
1924 - Boys via Fish Creek
1936 - Buffalo
1942 and 1949- 10 William St., Mentone

Retired by 1942 aged 50

Date of death: 12/09/1951 Reg # 10303; at his home, 10 William Street, Mentone (The Argus)

Place of burial: 14/09/1951 at New Cheltenham Cemetery (The Argus)

Additional Information

* The 14th battalion suffered heavy losses at Bullecourt in April 1917 when the brigade attacked strong German positions without the promised tank support. Neal was wounded and taken POW the same day as Bill DODEMAIDE. Bill was engaged in fighting during the first Battle of Bullecourt on 11 April 1917, which saw over 1,100 Australians taken prisoner, the largest number suffered by the AIF in a single battle in the First World War. We now know at least 2 were from Melton.

Melton Express
The Bacchus Marsh Express
9 June 1917, P 2

Mrs. John Neal has been notified that her son, Private Frank Neal, who was reported missing, is now a prisoner of war in Munser, Germany.

The Bacchus Marsh Express
25 May 1918, P 2

Frank Neal returned home to Melton on Wednesday last, after an absence of 26 months on Active Service. He was a Prisoner of War in Germany for 10 months, having been captured after a bad wound in the shoulder, the result of which he still carries a disabled arm in a sling; but the use of it may return later, with careful nursing and medical attention - his friends earnestly hope so. Pte. Neal states that his treatment whilst in Germany was "not bad," but the food served out was poor and insufficient - black bread, turnip tops, &c. The Red Cross parcels were thankfully received and kept many of them alive whilst in prison. Two other brothers (Keith and Jack) of this returned soldier are still on Service.

Melton Express
The Bacchus Marsh Express
1 June 1918, p. 2

Empire Day was celebrated at the Melton school on Friday, when the School Committee and friends assembled to do honor to the occasion.
Mr. J. F. Roo ,(H.T.) …... He extended a welcome to Private Frank Neal, an ex-pupil of the school, who had just returned seriously wounded, from Germany, where he had been imprisoned for nine months.

Melton Express
6 July 1918, P 2

Despite the inclement weather on Saturday night, the Melton Mechanics' hall was well filled by local and district folk, who assembled to extend a welcome home to Privates Tom. Nolan, Frank Neal, G. Close and Tom Exell; also to say farewell to-Lance-Corporal Stanley Love, Privates Roy Monk and Norman Kinnersley. The platform was tastefully decorated for the occasion with greenery, flowers, and the Allied flags. Harmony was contributed by Misses Phyllis Emmett, Currie, Evans, Messrs. McLeish, Osborne and S. Hardy. The performers were all in excellent voice and had perforce to obey encores. The Chairman of the Recruiting Committee (Rev. S. Love) …….
….. Privates Close, Nolan and Neal responded in neat speeches, thanking the audience for the splendid reception given them.--The (Rev.) Lance-Corporal Love said he knew his enlistment was a surprise to many people, but he saw other married men obeying the call of Empire and he had no desire to shelter himself behind his clerical collar. He then spoke in his usual happy vein and gave some experiences of camp life.
To show the inequality of sacrifice in connection with the war, it is interesting to note that the whole family of Nolan brothers and Neal brothers enlisted. Three Nolans and Frank Neal have returned. Privates Joe Nolan and Keith and Jack Neal are still in the firing line.

The Argus
Friday 14 September 1951, P 14

NEAL.—On September 12 at his home 10 William street, Mentone, Francis James (late 14th Battalion) loved husband of the late Annie and loving father of Keith (deceased), Noel, Nance (Mrs. P. Mulvogue), Betty, and Fay, aged 60 years -R.I. P.

NEAL.—On September 12 at his home 10 William street Mentone, Francis James (late 14th Battalion), loved brother of Margaret and Patrick Nolan and uncle of Pat, Kathleen, Brian, Margaret, and Marjorie, aged 60 years. - R.I.P.

NEAL - The Funeral of the late Mr FRANCIS JAMES NEAL (late 14th Battalion) will leave his home 10 William street, Mentone, THIS DAY (Friday) at 10.30 am for New Cheltenham Cemetery.


Australian War Memorial
Service Record
Nominal Roll
Newspaper accounts