He was a member of the
Irish Parliamentary Party,
and was a
wing of the
He served in the British Army Nov 1914 to Nov 1919.
He fought in WWI (July 1914 to Nov 1918).
Frank started training in Mere, Wiltshire.
Because of his background (and relatively older age) he was made an officer, in charge of Irish troops.
[London Gazette, Nov 1914] says he was appointed on 25 Nov 1914 as a Second Lieutenant in Royal Field Artillery.
Frank was meant to have been a Captain but this may be confusion with his rank in the Irish Volunteers.
All British Army records have him as only as high as Lieutenant.
He was in command of a Battery.
There was a conflict with his superiors at one point when he defied orders and marched Catholic soldiers off to mass when they were meant to be preparing for a visit from Lord Kitchener.
At end of Dec 1915 they were sent to
(now Thessaloniki), N Greece.
They might be the LVII (57th) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was sent to join the 10th (Irish) Division in Greece between 16 August and 18 December 1915.
He had a number of disputes with superiors,
and was also having arguments about what was happening
after the Easter Rising, Apr 1916.
On leave in London, just after Easter Rising 1916 executions, he had dinner with "my old friend" T.P. O'Connor (Nationalist MP), Joe Devlin, MP and Lloyd George (who became Prime Minister Dec 1916). The Irish MPs warned Lloyd George about the growing martyr-worship of the dead rebels, and urged him to try to undo the damage.
He got a post in the British administration of Iraq.
He became assistant administrator
of the district round
Babylon, SC Iraq.
"The district to be looked after and policed was about the size of Wales".
This must be in and around
He was in command of "the best part of 1000 men".
[Service record] says he was appointed "Local Purchase Officer" 30 Aug 1917.
He had a
"free and easy, and sometimes dangerous life
roaming around the desert".
He met Gertrude Bell.
He saw the German archaeological excavations at Babylon.
He met the famous Colonel Leachman. "He was the T.H. Lawrence of Iraq" [sic]. "He and I often sat into the late night drinking scotch and soda".
Also "In Baghdad I met the Grand Duke Dimitri who had been an accomplice in the murder of Rasputin" [the previous year, 1916]. Dimitri had been intended for the throne by the aristocrats who removed Rasputin, but they were overtaken by the Mar 1917 Revolution, and he lived out his life in exile.
In Babylon one time Frank entertained Admiral Sir Ernest Gaunt (commander-in-chief of the East Indies).
[London Gazette, Apr 1918]
lists him as
[Service record] says he was granted 6 weeks leave, May-July 1918.
He went to India on leave. He was a lavishly treated guest of Admiral Sir Ernest Gaunt in Ceylon.
He knew Prince Ranjitsinhji, the famous Indian cricketer. He was not allowed bring him into the Bombay yacht club (no Indians allowed).
Ranjitsinhji later came to Ireland in 1920s, and they renewed their friendship. Frank also became friends with C.B. Fry.
He was replaced after an argument with
the colonial administrator of Iraq.
"within a month I had a letter returning me to my Battery".
His successor was installed: "took over my job and house, and occupied the bedroom I used." A few days later "for no reason the Arabs shot him dead in bed." "Wilson's action saved my life."
[WWI Medal Rolls, Nov 1919]
says he was wounded,
and was eligible for the
Silver War Badge.
It seems he never collected this medal.
It lists him as
He was entitled to but declined to draw a pension for his WWI service.
British forces recapture Kut, Iraq, Feb 1917.
British forces enter Baghdad, March 1917.
Frank retires from the army after the war, with the rank of Lieutenant.
From [London Gazette, 21 Nov 1919].
"One may ask why I joined the British Army.
I was in the Irish Volunteers and a follower of John Redmond,
and he asked us to join up and fight, thinking the British Government
would give us Home Rule as promised.
Many of my friends left the Redmond party and founded their own army
which fought in 1916.
The fight led to the founding of the Irish Free State.
They were right."
- Frank's rather sad judgement in 1965 on his WWI service.
Return to Frank Flanagan.
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