Frank described himself as a ‘soldier and clerk’ when he joined the Princess Patricia’s Regiment at the outbreak of war. He was known as the “poet of the Pats.”
Frank was among the first of the Canadians to come to Britain in WW1. His unit was initially stationed on Salisbury Plain, where he spent some time in hospital when he became ill. Frank was an accomplished pianist and sang as a baritone. He was also a good horseman and an expert shot. After his recovery, Frank was posted to the Western Front where he served with the rank of Sergeant. He was killed at St. Eloi on 3rd February 1915.
Frank had poems published in the “Ottawa Citizen” newspaper and his WW1 Collection “Contingent Ditties and Other Soldier Songs of the Great War“, edited by Holbrook Jackson, was published by Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., London, in 1915. The collection is available as a free down-load here: https://archive.org/stream/contingentdittie00brow/contingentdittie00brow_djvu.txt
Source: “Contingent Ditties and Other Soldier Songs of the Great War” (Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., London, 1915)
“THE P.P.C.L.T. (Princess Pat's)”
The trumpet sounded loud o'er hill and plain :
To Arms ! To Arms ! Our Empire is at war !
Come, join your colours, on the land or main.
All Britons who have served the King before.
And in the mountain mine; by prairie plow,
They answered to the trumpet's brazen voice :
They, who had served the Empire long enow
As soldiers by profession and from choice.
No conscripts, these, in whose unwilling hands
Weapons are thrust, to wage unwilling strife.
But — freemen all, who needed not commands
To volunteer their service, limb and life.
Thus rose a regiment, as 'neath a wand.
Of seasoned men, with medalled service too :
Soldiers from every corps throughout the land —
Britons beyond the seas; tried men and true.
This is indeed a princely gift to give
To our Imperial Realm in crisis sore —
Proud in the nation of the sturdy men,
And prouder yet of him who raised the Corps.
Then go, ye able sons of Britain's soil,
To take your place, wherever it may be ;
God speed you in the glory — and the toil.
Princess Patricia's Canadian Infantry.
The sunny rose of autumn's smoky day
Had almost fled. The chill was in the air,
When issued forth from Gaspe's smiling bay
A grand Armada, 'neath a cruiser's care.
A great and grand flotilla, speeding forth
Beneath the oily pall of clinging smoke —
A gift to Motherland, of priceless worth —
Th' Atlantic's lazy swells to life awoke.
Thrice ten and two great modern Argosies,
That hurried to the Field the best of youth
To bear their country's colours o'er the seas,
And herald Canada to national growth.
Great sons of sires whose willing blood has given
To our New World the sterling of the Old ;
Most worthy volunteers are these, undriven
To take up arms ; freemen, but strong and bold.
Beneath the watching escort's wakeful eyes
The fleet pulsed on. The ocean's lazy roll
Bore three long straggling lines, 'neath low'ring skies,
Spread as a flock of geese cleave toward their goal.
Thrice ten and two great, sullen merchantmen,
As, sullen in their cloaks of drab and black,
They freighted over thrice ten thousand souls.
How many of these same pay they bring back ?
The days roll by. The ocean slowly yields Its bosom to the squadron's steady pace,
Until the cliffs of England rise to greet
The scions of her colonizing race
Come home — to give their all. Come home - to fight.
Come home— though born of that far Western land,
Where Britain's shield is 'stablished for the right,
They volunteered to lend an armed hand.
Oh 1 Plymouth, Cradle of the mighty Drake ;
The haven of his vessel's hopes and fears ;
Yet have you ever seen so fine a sight?
Or have you waked to such a crest of cheers
As roars aboard the transports, on whose decks
Are packed the khaki hosts ? Has e'er a day
Such wealth of loyal blood, such willing hands
Brought to your shores ?
All England answers, " Nay."