Frank, Anthony Mutrie

    Date of birth:
    February 2nd, 1917
    Date of death:
    October 30th, 2008
    Service number:
    99817
    Nationality:
    British (1801-present, Kingdom)

    Biography

    Before the war Tony Frank read classics at St. Catherine's College, Cambridge. When WWII broke out he enlisted and was posted to the Lancashire Fusiliers as a 2nd Lieutenant. After a while he joined the Airborne Forces and took part in Operation Fustian, the attempt to capture Primosole Bridge, in Sicily, on the 13th July 1943 where he commanded a platoon of "A" Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion.
    At Arnhem, 17th September 1944, Frank was Second-in-Command of "A" Company. Passing through Oosterbeek Frank reached the Bridge with "A" Company during the evening, and was given command of it when Major Tatham-Warter took over command of the Battalion, replacing Lieutenant-Colonel Frost who took charge of the Brigade.
    Frank got wounded in the ankle by shelling on Wednesday 20th September and was taken prisoner on the following day and then taken to the St. Elizabeth Hospital for treatment. With him was Major Tatham-Warter, who was similarly slightly wounded. At night they escapep and managed to make contact with the Dutch resistance who helped them to set up Pegasus I, the first crossing of the Rhine by the Red Devils to swim back to freedom and remain out of the hands of the Germans.
    Having retired from the Army as a Major, Tony Frank joined the Colonial Service and spent time in Ghana and Somalia before returning to Britain during the 1960's Thereafter he was director of the Spastics Society until his retirement in 1982.

    Promotions:
    October 1st, 1939: 2nd Lieutenant
    April 1st, 1941: Lieutenant (war sub)
    June 6th, 1942: Acting Captain
    February 11th, 1946: Captain (war sub)
    February 11th, 1946 Temporary Major

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Lieutenant
    Unit:
    2nd Parachute Battalion, Parachute Regiment, 1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, Army Air Corps, British Army
    Awarded on:
    December 23rd, 1943
    Citation:
    "For conspicuous gallantry and leadership in action. In the early hours of the morning of the 14th of July 1943 this officer was in command of a platoon of the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment which was dropped on the Catania Plain in Sicily to secure the high ground South of the River Simeto. He led his party through superior German forces, inflicting many casualties on them, and reached his objective which was held by greatly superior enemy numbers. After joining other small parties of the Battalion he personally led an assault on the enemy positions which was completely successful and resulted in the capture of two hundred prisoners together with all their arms and equipment. His own force during this action never consisted of more than thirty five men. Throughout the remainder of the operations, during which he was wounded, he displayed great qualities of leadership, initiative and gallantry."
    London Gazette Issue 36297 published on the 21 December 1943.
    Military Cross (MC)
    Citation:
    "Captain Frank was wounded and captured at Arnhem on 21st September 1944. He was taken to a hospital in Arnhem and at 2200 hours the same day, he and another wounded officer climbed out of a window and crawled through the hospital gardens to a wood. They immediately came into the hands of friends and on 6th October members of the Resistance Movement guided Captain Frank to Ede, where he assisted in organising the supply of arms to evaders and escapers in the area. On 22nd October he participated in the large-scale evacuation across the Waal to reach British lines."
    London Gazette Issue 37274 published on the 18 September 1945.
    Citation:
    "Captain Frank was Second-in-Command of the Company of 2nd Parachute Battalion which captured the vital Arnhem bridge on the evening of 17th September. He assumed command of the Company on the evening of the following day. The next morning, three enemy Tanks got into position close to a house held by one of his forward Platoons and shelled it at very close range. The Platoon was forced to evacuate the house temporarily thus causing a very serious gap in the defence. Realising the danger of the situation, Captain Frank at once organised a party of two P.I.A.Ts. which he himself led under heavy fire, to a position on the flank from which he could engage the Tanks. Meanwhile, two more Tanks appeared. Altogether, three Tanks were hit and all of them withdrew. The situation was restored and the platoon enabled to re-occupy the house. Later in the day, Captain Frank was wounded in the foot. At midday on the following day, when the situation was becoming critical, Captain Frank again took over command of the remnants of his Company and that evening, despite his wound, led a successful counter attack against a house held by the enemy. During the time this officer had commanded the Company, it had been attacked repeatedly by Tanks and infantry in overwhelming strength, and it was largely due to Captain Frank's leadership and personal example that these attacks were successfully driven off. This officer ultimately escaped from a German hospital and played a leading part in the planning and execution of a most brilliant operation in which 130 armed men, after lying up for four weeks, passed through the German lines and crossed the Rhine. Throughout this period, Captain Frank moved about amongst the Germans with complete disregard of his own safety and showed the greatest daring, leadership and efficiency."
    London Gazette Issue 38122 published on the 11 November 1947
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    With "8th ARMY" clasp.
    Africa Star

    Sources

    • Photo: Unithistories
    • - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 34709 published on the 13 October 1939
      - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36297 published on the 21 December 1943
      - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 37274 published on the 18 September 1945
      - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 38122 published on the 11 November 1947
      - The Pegasus Archivel
      - The Lancaster Fusiliers
      -Unithistories