Baxenden Lads: Duckworth F

14th December 1917

SGT. 25535 FRANK DUCKWORTH of the Manchester Regiment was killed in action on December 14th 1917 on the battlefield of Ypres in Belgium.

Frank was aged thirty. He was born and lived in Baxenden, and went to Manchester to enlist in the local regiment when war was declared. His mother lived in Dean Road, Helmshore.

Frank’s body was one which, because of the terrible conditions under which both sides fought at Ypres in the winter of 1917, was never recovered. Much of the area was a sea of mud – hence the poet Siegfried Sasson’s imagery of the battle:

“I died in hell –
(They called it Passchendaele); my wound was slight
and I was hobbling back, and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards; so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.”

Frank’s name, with 918 others of the Manchester Regiment, is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial some six miles north-east of Ypres. The Memorial is in the form of a semi-circular wall around Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest war cemetery in France or Flanders. On the Memorial are inscribed the names of 35,000 men who died in the Ypres area between August 16th 1917 and November 11th 1918 and have no known grave. Frank’s name is also on the Haslingden Roll of Honour in Haslingden Public Hall.