Gunner Frank Arthur Diehl (44073)

88th Battery, 14th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 4th Division, B.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: Holy Trinity North Malvern,

Burial/Commemoration: Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension

Nature of Death: Died of wounds Bailleul, France 26/5/1915

Age: 35

Next of Kin: Son of Mr John William Diehl of Laburnam House, Newtown Road, Malvern; husband of Helen Harriet Diehl, of 70, Ann St., Plumstead, London.

Previous Employment: Printer, subsequently Regular Army artilleryman

Capbadge of the Royal Artillery

Early years

Frank Diehl was born in Malvern in 1878, the son of John W Diehl, a German musician and his wife Elizabeth.  In 1901 the family were living at 4 Brompton Terrace, Newtwon.  Frank served his apprenticeship as a printer under Mr W H Lovell in Malvern.

However, life as a printer wasn’t for him and he enlisted in the regular army.  He joined the Royal Field Artillery at Liverpool, and was stationed at Woolwich.  He married Helen Harriett Percy here in 1908.  The newly wed couple lived in married quarters at 41 Coupland Terrace, Newham.

First World War

When war broke out, Gnr Diehl went out with the first Expeditionary Force, landing in France with 88th Battery on 23rd August 1914.  He served with his battery the Battle of the Marne, and the Battle of Ypres,

The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge

In May 1915, the 4th Division were holding trenches north-east of Ypres near Wieltje.  

At 2.45am on 24th May 1915, German forces attacked the British line held by the 4th Division, using asphyxiating gas.  The area round Shell Trap Farm and to its immediate north west was most affected.  The batteries of 14th Brigade opened retaliatory fire on the German front line.  At 4am, fire was switched to support the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers who had German soldiers entering their trenches.  Throughout the day, Gnr Diehl’s battery continued to support the troops in front of them under attack.   

Communications were essential under such circumstances, as battalions called for assistance from their supporting artillery.  At some point during the day, Franc was severely wounded whilst laying out a telephone wire.  He was evacuated back down the line  and admitted to a hospital at Bailleul where he died on the 26th May.

A man who did great work

In a letter to the wife of the deceased, Major J Stewart commanding the Battery wrote:

“I need hardly say that I and all the Battery are very grieved at his loss, and I hope you will accept our sincere sympathy. He was a man who did great work in the Battery and he will be a great loss to me.”


Frank was buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension.  Bailleul became an important railhead, air depot and hospital centre, with a number of Casualty Clearing Stations.

Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension

Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension

Malvern News 12/6/15
Stevens Annual for 1914 Malvern 1914
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965
14th Brigade War Diary

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