Frank Hilton EATHER 1883-1917 -ANZAC
Frank was the son of Joseph Hiorns Rutter EATHER 1861-1884 and Clara RIDGE 1860-1941.
Early in life Frank EATHER displayed considerable musical and artistic talent. Around the turn of century he was amongst the art exhibitors at the annual Hawkesbury District Agricultural Shows. Some very famous artists were amongst the judges in the fine arts section around that time. They included Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Sid Long.In one year when Tom ROBERTS was the judge, Frank's prize-winning entry consisted of sketches of a number of the officials of Show Society, including one of the first secretary, Charles S GUEST. When the Society produced its history, "The Hawkesbury on Show" on the occasion of its hundredth Show in the 1980's, it featured a selection of sketches from Frank's prize-winning entry on the cover.
About 1902 romance blossomed between Frank EATHER and Blanche MORTIMER. She was 24, having born on 15 June 1878, the youngest of the ten children of Yarramundi farmer Henry Francis MORTIMER and wife Philadelphia CHANTLER. Henry Francis MORTIMER was one of the younger sons of George MORTIMER who had arrived at Richmond age 21 years and had received a grant of 100 acres of land. George MORTIMER hailed from a family of farmers in Wiltshire, England.
Henry Francis MORTIMER had died unexpectedly on 5 July 1878, not quite a month after Blanche's birth. When Blanche was ten her mother succumbed to pneumonia and she was left an orphan with three married sisters and six young siblings. There were a number of CHANTLER relatives in the Hawkesbury district and it was there that she grew up and in due course became close friends with Frank EATHER, who was six years her junior. They shared a common feature in their backgrounds. Neither of them could remember his/her respective father. On 17 April 1903 a son was born to Blanche and Frank in Wheeler's Lane, Sydney - a short street that no longer exists. Recorded originally as Eugene Allan, his name eventually became Alan Eugene because he didn't like the name Eugene.
At that time Frank's mother, Mrs Clara EATHER, was residing in George Street, Windsor and she was the organist at St Matthew's, Anglican Church. Residing with her was her elderly mother, Mrs Charlotte Margaret RIDGE, who had been a widow since the death of her husband John RIDGE. A descendant of the well-known COBCROFT family, she was a well-informed and interesting old lady until she was stricken with paralysis. Grandson Frank was one of the mourners at her funeral in 1906.
During the festive season of 1906, Frank EATHER nearly lost his life. Fanny RIDGE, an elder sister of Frank's mother Clara, had married William RICHARDS, a son of Benjamin RICHARDS and Elizabeth Eather WILLIAMS. They and their children lived at Port Hacking. Frank and his sister Mattie were holidaying with them and were out in a boat on the bay when a mishap occurred. Frank was almost drowned and was unconscious when pulled from the water by one of his cousins. The incident received mention in the Windsor newspaper of the day.
On 19 July 1908 a daughter was born to Blanche and Frank and named Enid. This daughter was only a small child of five when her mother died from what later became known as deep vein thrombosis. Frank went to his aunt Emma MORGAN of Abercrombie Street, Sydney, and Enid to her aunt Sarah GORNALL who lived at Chatswood. World War I broke out in August 1914 and on 3 November that year Frank Hilton EATHER enlisted in the Australian Army. He named his mother as his next-of-kin. Allocated to the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade with the number 1462, he did his initial training and less than two months later was promoted to the rank of corporal. Sent overseas with reinforcements to the Mediterranean early in 1915, he was taken on strength at Gallipoli on 7 May, just a fortnight after the historic landing that made the name ANZAC famous. On 20 June 1915 he was promoted to lance-sergeant and saw further action on Gallipoli until 20 October 1915, when he was evacuated to Mudros on the island of Lemnos, suffering from diarrhoea. On 25 November 1915 he embarked for England on the "Aquitania" and on 4 December was admitted to the London War Hospital at Epsom.
After six months in England, Frank departed with the 35th Draft to join the British Expeditionary Force in France, and reported to the 1st ADBD at Etaples on the following day. He marched out of this Unit on 20 December 1916 and rejoined 1st Battalion three days later. On 8 January 1917 he was absorbed from the supernumerary list of non-commissioned officers to replace Corporal BRADSHAW who had died of wounds, and on 29 January he was promoted to Temporary/Sergeant. In action on the western front, T/Sgt Frank EATHER was reported missing on 5 May 1917.
A court of inquiry found that he had been killed in action some time between the 5th and 8th of May. He left two children, Alan Eugene, then age 14 years, and Enid, age 9 years. His mother was duly notified of the death of her only son.
The name Sgt Frank EATHER appears on the honour roll inside St Matthew's Church at Windsor, and his name is also recorded on the headstone of his maternal grandparents John and Charlotte RIDGE in the churchyard.
For the honour of Australia, our mother,
Side by side with our kin from across the sea,
We have fought and we have tested one another,
And enrolled among the brotherhood
We are ANZACS
Remember the Anzacs
LEST WE FORGET
Location on the Roll of Honour Frank H Eather's name is located at panel 29 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial (as indicated by the poppy on the plan below).