8/2406 Private Frank Bird, 2nd Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment
NZEF Trio and KiA Memorial Plaque
The 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal trio together the Memorial Plaque issued in commemoration of Frank Bird who was killed in action on 10th October 1917 in Belgium.
Frank Bird was born 9th June 1898 in Manchester, England. Son of Francis Henry and Sarah Ann Bird (née Burton). Sarah Bird died in 1905 and Frank snr. remarried (to Bertha Thompson) in 1909. The family appear to have emigrated to New Zealand prior to the First World War, settling in Hamilton. Frank jnr. was employed at the Wellington Woollen Mill at Petone when he enlisted for service with the NZEF, inceasing his age by four years (he was only sixteen at the time). He was posted to 4 (Otago) Company, Otago Infantry Battalion, 5th Reinforcements. He embarked in June 1915, and landed on Gallipoli during the desperate fight for Chunuk Bair. The 5th Reinforcements were generally thrown straight into action, shoring up the advances made over the period 6-8th August 1915. Ultimately the offensive failed, and on 2nd September 1915 Frank was struck down with dystentery and evacuated to the UK via Malta.
Frank returned to Egypt in March 1916, and was subsequently transferred to the Western Front, serving with 1st Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment. He served continuously in the field until receiving two weeks leave in July 1917, returning to his unit in early August 1917. On 10th October 1917, during the preparations for the attack on Gravenstafel near Passchendaele Frank was killed in action - probably by artillery. At the time of his death he was aged just nineteen. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
All medals are correctly impressed 8/2406 PTE. F. BIRD. N.Z.E.F. and the Memorial Plaque is correctly embossed FRANK BIRD. The 1914/15 Star has some verdigris on the reverse.