Those who gave their lives from Yarm
Ekins, Franklin George. Pte 2021 Alexandra, Princess of Wales's own Yorkshire Regiment and later Lieuenant 1st Bn Royal Irish Regiment.
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Franklin George Ekins (known as Barney) was born September 1896 in Lincolnshire and went to Christ Hospital School in West Horsham in Sussex.
His parents were Rev George Richard Ekins, who was vicar of Kirklevington between 1913 and 1916, and Beatrice Emma Ekins (nee Mitchinson), who was a great-niece of Sir John Franklin (the Arctic explorer).
Yarm 1914 has been sent some information provided by one of his sister's grandaughter. In her recollections my grandmother mentions Barney. If she is right that all 3 brothers went to sign up in August all 3 boys were under 18 the minimum age for enlistment in the regular army.
Barney had been in the school cadets and a classical scholar. In 1917, Barney was gassed in France. He was a good officer, after recovering from being gassed he was sent to train soldiers in gas warfare in Ireland. Then to Gen. Allenby’s Palestine campaign. After the Armistice & coming back he developed pneumonia, only having 1 lung after the bad gassing he died in January 1919 and buried in Cherbourg. Too late for his parents to get there for his military funeral. Barney has the Military Cross + bar. Barney’s death was tragic.
From military records her granddaughter provided the following information:
Franklin George Ekins enlisted on 3rd September 1916 in the Yorkshire Regiment and was later commissioned in the Royal Irish Regiment. He was wounded on 3rd September 1916 at Guillemont during the Battle of the Somme (gunshot would right thigh) and had 2 operations and spent some time at home before being declared fit for service again in July 1917. He was mentioned in the London Gazette for his MC in January 1917 and the bar in October 1918. He died on 22nd January 1919 of pneumonia.
The London Gazette gave a description of the action leading up to the award in its 4th October 1919 supplement as follows;
For gallantry and initiative during operations on 21st September 1918 when, finding the advanced guard on the left of his battalion was held up, he, with a few men, rushed the strongly-held village of Rujib and quickly cleared it of the enemy, thus enabling his battalion to make further advance.
For the family history see the report for his brother Thomas Arbuthnot Ekins. His other brother Willingham Richard Ekins died on 3rd May 1917.
This photograph shows Barney left (in his Christ’s Hospital uniform), Tot, Billy and their father a few years before war broke out.A military cross is on the right.
Yarm 1914 Research
The Yarm 1914 Commemoration Group is carrying out research on the soldiers listed. We are finding where they lived in Yarm and will represent the findings in a wall of poppies presentation. More details will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and this web site. If you have any information please contact us. Left click on the picture below.