36th & 33rd Battalion, AIF
Serial Number: 3170
Date/Place of Birth: 29 January 1893, Penrith, NSW
Date/Place of Death: 31 August 1918, France
Biographical details: Francis Arthur Abbott was the youngest son of Mr Joseph and Mrs Mary Anne Abbott of York Estate, Penrith. He was educated at Penrith Superior Public School and completed his studies at Mr Brown’s College Castlereagh Street. Frank started work with the Nepean Co-operative Stores and when this business closed, set up business for himself. When Frank enlisted, Frank’s brother and sister took over the running of the store for him. Abbott’s cousin, Alexander Malcolm Mitchell, was also killed during WW1.
Service details: In October 1915, Frank joined the Instructional Staff at Liverpool as a Staff Sergeant Major. He was a musketry instructor and held this position until January 1917. On 10 May 1917 Frank boarded the troopship HMAT Benalla and arrived in Plymouth on 19 July 1917. During the next few months he undertook a range of courses at Aldershot and Tidworth Army establishments. On 18 December 1917, Frank was posted to the 36th Battalion shortly after the battalion’s involvement at Passchendaele and took his place at the front near Rouelles, Belgium. In February and March 1918, Frank was admitted to hospital with trachycardia and trench fever. He rejoined his unit at the front near Rouelles on 3 April 1918 as the battalion was involved with defeating a major drive on Villers-Bretonneux. The Australian forces suffered heavy casualty rates in th fighting to defeat the German offensive and especially the 9th Brigade (33rd-36th Battalions).Reinforcements from Australia were dwindling and it was decided to disband the 36th Battalion to reinforce the other 9th Brigade battalion. The 36th Battalion was disbanded on 30 April 1918 and Abbott was transferred to the 33rd Battalion. The 33rd Battalion It fought at the battle of Amiens on 8 August, during the rapid advance that followed, and in the operation that breached the Hindenburg Line at the end of September. Abbott was killed during this action on 31 August 1918.
Memorial Details: Abbott’s name is commemorated on Memorial Panel 121, Australian War Memorioal, 26 Villiers-Bretonneux, France. The Penrith Roll of Honor in Memory Park, and the Lodge Nepean Roll of Honor, Penrith.
National Archives of Australia. Search: B2455, ABBOTT F A