Francis Leopold Gale
Frank wrote a letter to his oldest brother, James Frederick Gale, describing his experiences:
"I am just writing to let you know that the Germans have not got me yet. We had a very good trip over. Called at Capetown, which is a very nice place. There are a great many blacks there, but I am afraid they are not very honest. They like one to give them a lot for a very little. The natives at Darkar are hard nuts to crack. When we anchored there about a quarter mile out, they swam out to us. We were throwing pennies and threepenny bits into the water and they were diving for them. It was marvellous how they could get them so easily, and it was amusing to watch them. The South African coast appeared to be very rough from what I could see of it. Did you hear that we got torpedoed? There was not much fear of that, with the escorts we had with us. All sorts of rumours afloat. We heard that the statement was published in the Tasmanian papers. 
"We are having a good time in London. We have been to St Paul's Cathedral, and also the Tower. Other places of note that we visited include Piccadilly, the Strand and Leicester Square, but we never heard Paddy sing, It's a long way to Tipperary. We have been to Greenwich and saw where a bomb dropped from a Zeppelin some few days ago.  We have also been in the underground trains—they are really wonderful. I might say that London is a bit bigger than Burnie or Hobart. I don't suppose that we will get much more running about, as it is time we did a bit towards beating the Germans.
"Did you get the medal I won at Claremont? When you write please let me know. Cap and Sweetman are having a great game of draughts at present. I must now conclude." 
After three months training at Larkhill, Frank proceeded to Le Havre on 23 November 1916, and arrived at Armentières on 2 December 1916.
Winter of 1916 was wet, cold and miserable and many suffered with the cold and of course frostbite and trench feet. By 26 December 1916, Frank was taken to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station with influenza. The Casualty Clearing Station was situated at Estaires, about ten kilometres southeast of Armentières.
Frank remained at Estaires for several weeks, rejoining the battalion on 8 January 1917. On 31 January 1917, the battalion was subjected to raids and heavy bombardment. The ground was frozen hard, which made the shrapnel effect of the enemy's explosives very severe. During these skirmishes, Frank's brother, Lynden, sustained a gunshot wound to his thigh. Two days later, Frank's other brother, Wilfred, was taken to the 10th Field Ambulance suffering from impetigo. Frank, himself, was also taken to the Field Ambulance on 15 February 1917 with dermatitis.
Skin conditions were rife brought on by squalid conditions in the trenches, and in the summer, conditions were no better with rampant lice infestations causing many to suffer Trench Fever.
Frank remained with the 9th Field Ambulance, a mobile medical unit, until 27 February 1917, whereafter he rejoined the battalion and took part in several major offensives include the Battles of Messines, Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele.
In December 1917, Frank was granted two weeks leave to spend Christmas in England. By this time, winter seemed a little less harsh than the winter of 1916 when Australian troops were caught in the middle of the worst winter France had experienced in 40 years. Men were better prepared and charities in Australia more organised in dispatching Christmas Billies, billy cans containing little luxuries such as cigarettes, socks, soap and chocolate.
Frank's brother, Lynden, had already been repatriated to Australia. Frank's other brother, Wilfred, remained in France with the 9th Field Ambulance after coming down with influenza.
A month after returning from leave, Frank spent several days attending a pigeon class, while his brother, Wilfred, attended signal school. Frank received instructions in communication—the use of homing pigeon to relay messages between the frontline and headquarters, often more reliably and securely than telecommunications or radio.
In March 1918, the 40th Battalion met the German Spring Offensive at Morlancourt. The battalion was thrown into a gap between Ancre and the Somme, however, they managed to strike a significant blow, advancing 1200 yards and securing vital position overlooking Amiens.
From March to October 1918, the battalion was engaged in trench warfare and comparative minor actions. In August, it took part, although not a leading one, in the Battle of Amiens, later known as the Hundred Day Offensive.
It was on 28 August 1918 when Frank sustained a gunshot wound to his left thigh resulting in a compound fracture.  He died two days later at the 2nd General Hospital at Le Havre on 30 August 1918. Cause of death given was gas poisoning and gangrene. 
In the second week of September 1918, Frank's parents received news of their son's death. A year later they received Frank's personal effects comprising a purse, a prayer book, one metal cigarette case, a YMCA wallet, a wallet, cards, one photo and five penny stamps. They also received a Memorial Plaque and a Memorial Scroll depicting a Royal Coat of Arms with the following message:
"He whom the scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten."
Frank's grave is situated at Sainte-Marie Cemetery in Le Havre, Division 62, Plot 5, Row A, Grave 10. The inscription on the grave reads, "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling."
Prior to his departure from Hobart on 1 July 1916, Frank had made provisions for his mother, Catherine Grace Fleming, to receive three shillings per day while he was in active service.
Usually, a private was paid six shillings per day, however, one shilling was deferred to be paid after the return from war, or if deceased to be paid to the beneficiary. There was also a compulsory allotment to be paid to the spouse if the private was married, however, in most instances, where the private was single, he would allot a portion of his pay to a parent. This often left a residue of two shillings per day for personal use. Two shillings would buy a few beers or a couple shots of rum.
As among the highest paid soldiers during the Great War, the Australian soldier was often referred to as a six bob a day tourist. However, six shillings a day was still half of the average daily wage.
At the beginning of 1919, Frank's father, George Gale, received a letter notifying him of a deferred payment that was yet to be claimed. George promptly provided the following response:
"I, George Gale, of Elliott, Tasmania, herewith desire to claim the deferred pay of the late no. 380 Private Francis Leopold Gale, 40th Battalion."
In response to George's request, a letter was dispatched from the District Paymaster on 5 March 1919:
"I have to inform you that your claim to the Military Pay due to the estate of the above named deceased soldier cannot be allowed. I hold a Will which is in favour of the mother, therefore settlement will be effected to her as legatee."
On 26 March 1919, Frank's mother, Catherine Grace, received a balance of fifty-one pounds and four shillings.
On 21 June 1920, George submitted an Application for War Gratuity. On this occasion, Catherine Grace Fleming received payment in bonds of eighty-one pounds and nineteen shillings, which was paid on 8 October 1920.
In the following year, on 5 May 1921, Catherine Grace wrote a letter to the District Finance Officer of the 6th Military Division as follows:
"I am just sending a few lines to let you know that I am in receipt of a war pension of ten shillings per week and I do not quite understand whether this paper relates to it or not. If you will please send a statutory, I will make a truthful statement of my position. I will send a letter with it and explain it fully all the work my dear boy did and the money earned was used to help keep our home together, otherwise we would not have been able to retain it."
The paper Catherine Grace referred to was a Circular to Beneficiaries in Estate of Deceased Soldiers, which addressed war service leave gratuities based on a sustenance allowance of three shillings per day for the period of leave for all members with more than 12 months service, being paid to members of the AIF on discharge. This condition extended to dependents of the deceased.
It was rare for a parent who was supported by a spouse to receive such payments, however, in this instance, Catherine Grace was successful in her application. She stated that she was partially dependent:
"to the full extent of his earnings. Before my son left on active service, he almost always worked at home. All the work he did and the money earned was used to keep the home together. He only got four shillings pocket money."
Catherine Grace received 30 days pay and sustenance at a rate of six and three shillings per day to the total amount of 13 pounds and 10 shillings.
 HMAT Berrima was torpedoed three months later on 18 November 1916 and again on 18 February 1917. The first incident occurred off Portland, England. HMAT Berrima was empty having unloaded 1600 troops at Plymouth two days before.
 Zeppelin L31 dropped bombs over southeast London on 24 and 25 August 1916. Areas targeted were Deptford, Greenwich, Plumstead and Eltham, which killed nine and injured 40 civilians.
 It is believed Cap and Sweetman were the nicknames of two brothers who enlisted with Frank on 8 February 1916.
 It is believed Frank was shot near Vaux Wood while supporting the 38th Battalion.
 In all, the 40th Battalion lost 16 officers and 459 other ranks killed. Total casualties were 70 officers and 2,124 other ranks. The battalion was over a thousand strong when it left Tasmania in June 1916.
Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra
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