Rank or Title
Date of Birth
17 Feb 1893
Date of Death
9 Jun 1918
Media files and documents
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Second Lieut Frank Gilbert Hurrell Small, 47th Battalion Machine Gun Corps, died in hospital on June 9th, 1918, from blood poisoning following the amputation of his left leg in the Cassel internment camp in Germany. He had been taken prisoner on March 24th at Ypres in Belgium and was buried in the camp cemetery.
Following release as a prisoner of war at Mainz in 1919, Lieut Ernest Henry Taylor (Machine Gun Corps) sent a letter to widow Grace Short and told of the events of March 1918 that eventually led to her husband's death, also as a prisoner of war.
Lieut Taylor wrote: “On Saturday, March 23, 1918, when our Division was retiring, Lieut Small volunteered to remain behind in position near Ypres. Later in the same area, about midnight, whilst retiring, we found that the Germans were between us and our own troops. Lieut Small carried out some very good work during the time I was organising my party, preparatory to an attempt to break through.
“Lieut Small occupied the foremost gun position and, because there was no cover and a grave possibility of his men being hit, he manned his gun personally rather than risk his men's lives. He was wounded in the arm and leg about 1am (24.3.1918), about 200 yards north of Bus (between Ypres and Le Transloy) – his gun was knocked out, and I carried him back to our party.
“For this work and his invaluable help during the earlier part of the day, it was my intention to put his name before my C.O. for high recognition. I and my men were captured an hour later.
“Here is a case of an officer giving his life for his men. I last saw him in a hospital, being well looked after.”
Frank Small had been serving as a special constable when he and other Lutonians joined up with the London Regiment (No 3021) in September. He chose to move to the Machine Gun Corps (No 23199) and, after distinguishing himself in several big battles in France, was promoted to sergeant before coming home to study for a commission which he received in October 1917. It was shortly after being made a sergeant that he won the Military Medal for gallantry.
Born in 1893 in Kentish Town, London, he was the eldest of four sons of Amy Ellen and of Gilbert Howard Hurrell, who became a Luton cricketer and at the time of his son's death was living at 24 Albion Road, Luton. Unlike his father, Frank preferred football and played half-back for Luton Amateurs, and in the same position for the Luton Town Reserves.
Frank was formerly employed as a warehouseman by hat manufacturers Messrs J. C. Kershaw & Co, and later by Messrs Gurney & Co, Cheapside.
On December 15th, 1917, Frank married Hilda Grace Hobbs at Christ Church, Luton, and the couple made their home at 66 Norman Road.
Frank is now buried at Niederzwehren Cemetery, Niederzwehre , Kasseler Stadtkreis, Hessen, Germany. Plot: VIII. A. 1.