WW1 Sergeant Francis Arthur Vickerman 56113

Sergeant Francis Arthur Vickerman [1]

Frank Vickerman was born in Napier on 8 November 1880 and educated at Hawke’s Bay and Waitaki High School. His parents were Edward Robert and Emily D’Arcy Vickerman of 8 Station Terrace, (now Ohinerau Street) Remuera, Auckland.

He entered the employ of the Loan and Mercantile Agency Company. After a visit to South Africa he returned to Auckland and joined the staff of Dalgety and Company and then became manager of the New Zealand Portland Cement Company in 1912. [1] [2]

When war was declared in 1914 Frank was involved with fund-raising for the Belgian Relief Fund. As Honorary Treasurer he helped the local campaign by Remuera women to raise £1,500. [3] The Belgian Relief Fund was the most popular patriotic fund in New Zealand which attracted around £805,000 (equivalent to about $100 million in 2014) in donations during the war. [4]

Frank enlisted on 27 February 1917 aged 37 and was attached to the specialist machine-gun section. From May 1917 to May 1918 he was transferred frequently between the Trentham and Featherston camps in specialist units of the 37th, 38th and 39th Reinforcements. [5] Featherston Camp was New Zealand’s largest training camp during the First World War, where around 60,000 young men trained for military service on European battlefields between 1916 and 1918. At its peak, Featherston Camp could sleep and feed more than 9000 men, and train them to be infantrymen, artillerymen, cavalry, and machine gunners. [6]

Roll of Honour Board [2]

Frank did not embark overseas until 10 July 1918 on the RMS Tahiti with the 40th Reinforcements. However he died on 5 September 1918 from influenza on board the ship, 5 days before the ship was due to berth at Plymouth, Devon, England. He was buried at sea. An influenza epidemic caused the deaths of 74 members of the fortieth reinforcements, 65 deaths having occurred at sea between 1st September and September 4, when 18 men died, but on the following day 17 more died, and on September 6 a further 10 deaths were recorded. Six deaths occurred on both September 2 and 3, three on September 8, two each day on September 7, 12 and 14, and one each day on September 1, 10, 11, and 13, and nine after the draft reached the United Kingdom. [7]

Francis Arthur Vickerman is remembered on [8]:

• Auckland Provincial Memorial, Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand

• Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories

• Roll of Honour, Freemasons, Te Awamutu Lodge No. 2221 E.C., Ellerslie Masonic Centre, 9A Robert Street, Ellerslie, Auckland

• Memorial plaque, Freemasons, Te Awamutu Lodge No. 2221 E.C., Ellerslie Masonic Centre, 9A Robert Street, Ellerslie, Auckland

• St. Aidans Church, 5 Ascot Avenue, Remuera, Auckland 1050

• Waitaki Boys High School Memorial, Oamaru, North Otago