NUMBER: T71147

RANK: Private

UNIT: Royal Army Service Corps

DOB:12th June 1916

OCCUPATION: Railway Linesman

DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 21st January 1939

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 27th May 1940

WHERE BURIED: Nieuport, Ostend

MEDALS: 1939-45 Star, Victory Medal, Defence Medal

Photo of F Catchpole

Frank Catchpole was born on the 12th of June 1916 and was the son of George and Martha and brother to Bill George Gordon Nan Dorothy and Grace. The family lived first in Gladstone street and then at the railway houses in Romanby. Frank attended the Applegarth School and the National School and on leaving he worked for Atkinson a farmer of Hutton Bonville. Frank learned how to plough with two shire horses which required a great deal of physical strength and ability. Despite his small stature he became very skilled at this now forgotten facet of farming. Later he left the farm and worked with his father as a linesman for the LNER at Darlington.

At the age of seventeen Frank volunteered for the army but was turned down as he was too young. His ambition to be a soldier never deserted him and on the 21st January 1939 he got his wish and was accepted into the Royal Army Service Corps and posted to Aldershot. Shortly after his training he was given leave for one week, but in November after Germany had invaded Europe he was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). In May 1940 in what was to be known as the 'Blitzkrieg' the German Army swept through France and the Low Countries and overwhelmed the BEF and the French Army, forcing a retreat on a wide front. During the retreat through France and Belgium, Frank's unit of the RASC was trapped near the Neuport Bridge near Ostend. Frank was killed fighting as an infantryman defending the bridge.

Frank Catchpole lies buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in a private cemetery at Neuport Ostend. He is also remembered on the Romanby War Memorial and on the All Saints Parish Church Memorial . Frank was aged 23 years.