7th Brigade, 25th Division, II Corps, Reserve Army
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial
Pier and Face 3C and 4A
Son of John, and Harriet Bryning, of 284 The Village, Poynton. The census lists 12 children Minnie, Ernest, Eva, Sarah, Lillian, Frank, Jessie, John, Stanley, Fred, Leonard, and Ada.
Frank’s occupation prior to enlisting was Second Stores man for Mr Hodgkinson, Poynton Towers. However, his trade at this time was a Groom.
Frank was attested on the 9th December 1915 for the duration of the war being mobilised into the Cheshire’s on the 28th March 1916. Frank then commenced on a period of basic training, He embarked from Southampton en route to France on the 7th September 1916, landing in Rouen a day later. On arrival, he joined the 4th Infantry Base Depot until the 16th of September, when he joined up with the 10th Cheshire’s.
The Capture Of Stuff Redoubt
The battle of the Somme had started on July 1st There had been some success in the south but further north the attack had faltered.Now weeks later progress was still very slow. Further major attacks, known as the Battle of Ancre had been launched from October 1st with the intent of capturing the high ground of a ridge near the village of Thiepval. This ridge was held by the German strongholds of the Schwaben and Stuff redoubts. The southern part of Stuff Redoubt had already been captured when the 10th Cheshires were ordered to attack on the 9th October.
The Battalion moved up to the front line at 10.30am and relieved the 8th North Lancs without a hitch. A hot meal was issued at 11.00 and by 12.20 everything was ready. At 12.35 an intense barrage opened up on the German front line and communication trenches. The Battalion formed up in no man’s- land and attacked the German trenches before they could get their machine guns into action. On the right, the enemy put up a poor fight. On the left, a bombing party rushed a strong point where there were several deep dug outs, from which the Germans were emerging. Many Germans were killed, with 5 officers and 100 men captured. Some very fierce bombing and a determined bayonet charge ensued, the enemy blockhouses, some way up the 2 communication trenches leading away from the Redoubt, were captured, these being the second objectives. Heavy German counterattacks drove the troops back some 50 yards. All the time enemy shelling was severe on the communication and support trenches, making the supply of bombs and ammunition very difficult.The situation quietened about 7pm and a fresh counterattack in the night was repulsed. There was intermittent shelling throughout the night but by dawn, the Battalion were firmly established in the captured trenches. They had captured the whole redoubt and the trenches beyond it, killing 70 to 80 Germans, not including those killed in their dugouts, or casualties from the shelling. They had also taken 120 prisoners
The Battalion lost 1 Officer K.I.A 8 wounded.
137 N.C.O.s and men killed, wounded or missing.
39 men were confirmed K.I.A.
Franks grave was lost by shelling His name and those of 72,000 other men lost on the Somme battle field are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.
The following letter, dated 27th October, had been received by the parents of the late Private F Bryning from the Captain commanding his company.
It is with extreme regret that I have to inform you that your son was killed in action on the 9th inst. He died while gallantly defending the trench from the Germans. His body was recovered and buried by the Church Of England Pastor attached to the Battalion, and a simple service read over his grave. His loss is greatly felt by the Company as he was a cheerful and willing worker and a brave and fearless comrade. May I on their behalf express to you our deepest sympathy with you in your terrible loss.
A friend in the same Regiment wrote to Mrs Bryning as follows;
I expect you’ll have received the sad news that Frank has been killed last Monday. We were engaged in a charge against the Germans and Frank’s Company were the first over. My Company was next, and when I got there I saw Frank in the front line dead in the trench, I cannot express how sorry I am for we were very good pals and it was like losing a brother. I know words don’t seem much, but I trust you will find some comfort in the thought that he died a soldiers death and that he did his “bit” well. Yours with Sympathy, D Griffiths.
GUNNER ERNEST BRYNING MM
Frank’s eldest brother Gunner Ernest Bryning, joined the 149th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery in March, 1915 and was posted to France on the 28th November later that year. On the 16th June 1916, Ernest was in action just outside Ypres where he received a gun shot wound to the hand whilst “carrying munitions up to the guns.” For this action, Ernest received the Military Medal. The MM was awarded to N.C.Os and men for individual or associated acts of bravery. Ernest was again wounded in May, 1918, when he suffered a broken rib and gun shot wound to the leg. Fortunately, Ernest survived the war.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on Frank