Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Frank Duncan - an ordinary bloke

It's a little hard for an Aussie to write about Justice and Independence with a US slant so I will talk about an Australian who served Australia in two world wars and contributed to the just society we enjoy today.

Twenty-two year old Frank (Sonny) Duncan, Service Number 4767, joined the AIF in Dubbo, NSW as a Private on the 2nd November 1915. Previously Frank, the son of Frank and Harriet Duncan, had worked around Cobar doing various labouring jobs on farms and in the mines.

Frank embarked from Australia in March 1916 on HMAT The Star of England and landed in Egypt in April. Details of Frank's undistinguised service record in Egypt, France and Englaand can be found on his digitised WWI military file at National Archives of Australia site.

Frank returned to Cobar in 1919 where he met WWI widow Ethel Chatfield (Nee Pusell). They were married in 1922 and produced five daughters. Frank and Ethel initially lived on their station "Elsinore" outside Cobar but, when it came time for the girls to go to school they moved into town.

Frank and Ethel had a shop in Cobar and Frank also had an ice cream/catering van that he took to local events where his catchcry was ""Try our home made pies - warm your belly for threepence". The girl behind the wheel in Frank's van, his daughter Lillian, is now 80 years old.

Once the girls grew up and were seeking employment the family moved to Sydney where they settled in Kensington. Frank worked for the local Post Office.

Not long after World War Two broke out Private Frank Duncan, Service Number N74211 enlisted in the Australian Army in Sydney on 10 Aug 1940 . Frank's term of service in 2 Garrison Battalion was less than one year. Frank, aged just 53, died at home in Kensington in August 1948.

One wonders if the conditions Frank faced when defending his country and The British Empire contributed to his early demise. Frank was an ordinary bloke, a bit of a larrikin, the "Dadda" who gave his girls a happy upbringing and a secure home environment. He contributed to the charmed life I lead in "The Lucky Country."

I am sorry that I never got to meet my grandfather.

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This post has been submitted for the Carnival of Genealogy, 75th Edition - Justice and Independence

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