Private Frank Henn

Date of Birth 6 February 1878
Age at Death 39
Date of Death 11 April 1917
Service Number S/9530
Military Service 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders
Merton Address 15 Tramway Terrace, Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Born in Mitcham, Surrey, on 6 February 1878, Frank was the son of a shepherd, John Henn and his wife, Eliza. In addition to Frank Jnr, the couple had nine children – Eliza, Frederick, John, Charles, Walter, Kate, Jane, Arthur and Ellen. In 1881 the family was living at 83, Flat Tops, Mitcham, however by 1891 the Henns had moved to 15 Tramway Terrace, a street which seems to have been home to several members of their extended family. Their eldest child, Eliza was now working as a dressmaker.

Frank Henn Snr died in 1894. Mitcham was still a relatively rural community at this time and by 1901 Frank Jnr was working as a farm labourer. However by 1911 he and his elder brothers, Frederick and Walter, had found work as market garden labourers, possibly at the successful Mizen Bros. Elm Nursery in the Eastfields area.

As Britain entered its second year of war in 1915, Frank (now aged 37) enlisted at the Wimbledon Recruitment Office on 9 December. He joined the 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders as a Private. Between 1916 and 1917, the Battalion was involved in many famous offensives, including the Battle of Albert (1 – 13 July, 1916); the Battle of Transloy (1 – 18 October, 1916) and the Battle of the Scarpe (9 April – 4 May, 1917) where Frank met his death.

The events between 9 and 14 April 1917 are described as follows:
“….The ultimate objective of these assaults was the Monchyriegel, a trench running between Wancourt and Feuchy, and an important component of the German defences. Most of these objectives, including Feuchy village, had been achieved by the evening of 10 April though the Germans were still in control of large sections of the trenches between Wancourt and Feuchy, particularly in the area of the heavily fortified village of Neuville-Vitasse. The following day, troops from the 56th Division were able to force the Germans out of the village, although the Monchyriegel was not fully in British hands until a few days later. The British were able to consolidate these gains and push forward towards Monchy-le-Preux, although they suffered heavy casualties in fighting near the village.” ( Wikipedia)

Frank was killed in action on 11 April, aged 39. He is buried at Brown’s Copse Cemetery in Roeux, France. As next of kin, his brother Frederick asked for the inscription ‘Be Not Afraid’ to be included on Frank’s headstone. His name also appears on the Mitcham War Memorial.


* Required field