Frank Wilson, as well as a rugby player, was a superb all rounder. As a pupil of the highly regarded Auckland Boys Grammar School, he excelled in cricket, tennis, swimming, gymnastics and was one of Auckland’s fastest track sprinters. He was also a talented musician and a lover of flowers!
He carried on his study at Auckland University and became a school teacher. Making the most of his University time, Wilson played rugby for the side. Frank captained his Auckland university team in 1914 in the series that was to become known 14 years later as the Gallaher Shield (Premier) Championships.
In 1910 Wilson debuted as an All Black in Wellington.
On the 14 August 1915 he sailed off on the one month journey to Egypt on board either the vessel ‘Willochra’ or the ‘Tofua’. After a short period of training in Egypt, Wilson was transported to Gallipoli to see out the latter part of the campaign, before evacuation to France and the Battle of the Somme.
Wilson’s Battalion was assigned to the southern flank of Delville Wood and was able to consolidate a position high on the ridge. The New Zealand Division went over the top at 6.20 a.m. on the 15th September. All the hundred-odd field guns attached to the New Zealand Division opened fire along the 1000 yards of trench line, which was the infantry’s first target.
On the 19th (the day Wilson was wounded and later died) the rain was very heavy. Stretcher bearers were struggling in the mud everywhere. Heavy bombardment by the Germans took his life, but not after being wounded and enduring the four hour journey it took by stretcher to the Flers A.D.S through the churned up landscape.
Francis (Frank) Wilson (12/2616) was one of eight cousins who fought in WW1 (four were killed in action). Francis (Hack) Storey (2659) was KIA 5 Aug 1917 AIF (Menin Gate). Nelson Storey (42213) survived brother of Francis (Frank) Storey (198) (killed at Gallipoli, 26 April 1915). William Hewitt (32000) NZEF survived. Three brothers also served: Claude Storey (13568) NZEF AMR survived, Sydney Storey (70144) NZEF 4WMR, survived, Cecil Storey (48686) was KIA Oct 1917 (Nine Elms).
All Black number 166. Played 2 games, no test matches.
source: NZ Rugby Museum
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Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum