Frank Mastin of Sheffield
(Born at Sheffield in 1896. Died at Gaza, Israel on 2nd November 1917.)
Frank Mastin of Sheffield
We have very little information about his life, but we do know that Frank was educated at the King Edwards School Sheffield from May 1906 to July 1915. He was described as an excellent German Scholar as well as a scientist and mathematician and was popular with everybody at school. In June 1915 he won an Open Science Scholarship at Oriel College Oxford of £80 per year. Unfortunately the war took first priority and he never took up the scholarship. His name is included in the School's war memorial and also his name is the first on the list of awards plaque at the school.
We have rather more information about his death in active service in Gaza, Israel, during the First World War. He was a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). We have several amusing but rather politically-incorrect letters, one of which (sent by Frank to his "Uncle", which we assume to be Frank Ernest Mastin, while he was serving in Egypt) is shown at the bottom of this page.
He died, age 21 in the Battle of Gaza on Friday, 2nd November 1917, and is buried in the Gaza War Cemetary, Israel, in Grave XV. A. 8. His service certificate, (copied in the box below), was taken from the Debt of Honour Register of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web-site.
The following information is also taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web-site:
"Gaza was bombarded by French warships in April 1915. At the end of March 1917, it was attacked and surrounded (in the First Battle of Gaza) by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, but the attack was broken off when Turkish reinforcements appeared. The Second Battle of Gaza, on the 17th-19th April, left the Turks in possession and the Third Battle of Gaza, begun on the 27th October, ended with the capture of the ruined and deserted city on the 7th November. Later in the month British and Indian Casualty Clearing Stations came up, and General and Stationary Hospitals in 1918. During the 1939-1945 War Gaza was an Australian hospital base, and the A.I.F. Headquarters were posted there. Among the military hospitals in Gaza were 2/1st Australian General Hospital, 2/6th Australian General Hospital, 8th Australian Special Hospital, and from July 1943 until May 1945, 91 British General Hospital. There was a Royal Air Force Aerodrome at Gaza, which from 1941 onwards was considerably developed.
"About two-thirds of the graves from the 1914-18 War in this cemetery were brought in after the Armistice from the battlefields. The remainder were made by medical units after the Third Battle of Gaza, or, in some cases, represent burials from the battlefields by the troops who captured the city. There are now over 3,000, 1914-18 and 250, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly 800 from the 1914-18 War are unidentified and a special memorial is erected to one soldier from the United Kingdom believed to be buried among them. In 107 instances graves identified collectively but not individually are marked by headstones superscribed: "Buried near this spot". Of the British Soldiers, the great majority belonged to the 52nd (Lowland), the 53rd (Welsh), the 54th (East Anglian) and the 74th (Yeomanry) Divisions. The cemetry covers an area of 3.44 hectares and is enclosed by a wall. A stone tablet outside the entrance commemorates the share of the 54th Division in the Battles of Gaza."
Service Certificate for Frank Mastin from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
"In Memory of
Second Lieutenant FRANK MASTIN
1st Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regt.)
who died aged 21 on Friday, 2nd November 1917.
"Second Lieutenant MASTIN was the son of Esther Mastin, of 15, Cavendish St., Sheffield, and the late Arthur Mastin.
"Remembered with honour.
GAZA WAR CEMETERY, Israel.
"In the perpetual care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission."
Another letter we have (below) is from Frank's superior officer to Frank's mother, Esther, informing her of Frank's death:
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