Monday, November 16, 2020

MILITARY MONDAY ~ Locating a picture of Frank Gillespie (1894-1916) A young man who gave his life fighting in World War I

I wrote a post about Frank Gillespie, my 2nd cousin twice removed, back in 2019.  You can read that post here MILITARY MONDAY ~ FRANK GILLESPIE–Killed in action in France during World War I–age 22

As genealogists it’s always our hope to connect with other descendants and share information.  I have found, over the years, that my blog has allowed me to do that on numerous occasions.  This past week was one of them.

I received an email from a lady named Marion, who said she was researching her family for veterans day, specifically the Gillespie line, and came across my blog post in a Google search.

We are 4th cousins, descending from my 3rd great grandparents, Thomas Gillespie (abt 1792-1868) and Susannah BARROWCLIFF (1791-1876), both from England.  This couple had 11 children, ten boys and a girl.  Marion descends from Robert Gillespie (1827-1869) and I descend from his brother Joseph Gillespie (1837-1908).

I responded to Marion’s email right away and we quickly began communicating, even though we are on different continents in different time zones.  What fun!  She shared information that I didn’t know about this Gillespie line and I was able to share some photos with her.

One thing she did share with me was a link to a website honoring young men and woman from Grangetown, Wales, UK who served in the military.  One of those young men was our cousin Frank Gillespie.  She sent me a link to the website and I was able to see what they had for him and that included a picture.  Here is a link to that website Grangetown at War and here is a link to the specific page about my cousin, Frank Gillespie The Grangetown men who died at the Somme.  FYI – I had visited this website back in 2019 and hadn’t located this information.  It was kind of buried within the site.  I use CNTRL F when I want to search a website.  However, if a particular name is on a page accessed from a link within the website, you won’t find it.  A big thank you to Marion for pointing me to that specific part of the site.

If you have a moment please read about the other young men from Grangetown, who lost their lives and are honored on this page.

(You can click on any image to enlarge it)

Here’s a transcription of the short biography from the image above.


On 1st July 1916, the British Army suffered its largest number of casualties in one day - nearly 55,000, including 20,000 deaths. The first battle of the Somme carried on for four months. In those first few days though, 18 men from Grangetown died. Here are a few of their stories.

Private Frank Gillespie was your typical Grangetown soldier in many ways. He was 22 years old and newly married when he was sent to France for the final time. He lived with his parents in Knole Street – number 36 – and worked down at the Docks. There was an engineering firm called Loveridge in Hannah Street which made equipment for ships and he was a smith’s striker. Hot work.

He was the eldest of 10 brothers and sisters, the son of a Somerset man who had also worked in the shipyards. Frank enlisted as soon as he could at the start of the war as a 20 year-old. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment. He had been invalided home twice, before the Battle of the Somme. Frank married around the time his baby daughter Ellen was born in March 1916 but he was soon forced to leave his wife Agnes at home and was back over to France.

The South Staffs were in the 7th Division, 91st brigade – and part of a diversionary attack on Gommecourt, north of the main Somme battle early on the morning of Saturday 1st July. The Germans were well dug in to withstand the artillery barrage and responded with machine gun and rifle fire. Frank was one of those missing presumed dead.

Here is the photo of Frank downloaded directly from the site and enlarged.  You can see how grainy it is.

I used Photoshop Elements and the Filter>Gaussian Blur option to smooth it out a bit.  Smoothing too much caused blurring.  Only slightly improved from the original.

I still wasn’t happy with the results.  I’m no photo restoration expert, that’s for sure.  So, I thought I’d upload it to MyHeritage and use their enhancement feature.  I was happily surprised to actually see this young mans face.  Granted it’s not the best and I’m sure someone with more skills could probably do better.

What mattered to me was actually being able to see his eyes and face more clearly.

To all of Frank’s cousins, his daughter Ellen and any descendants, I hope I’ve honored him here today.

If any of you are connected with this GILLESPIE family or the BARROWCLIFF line, please get in touch.  I respond to all comments and emails.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2020   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Congratulations on such an incredible discovery. Also, what a bonus to connect with a new cousin. Loved reading this story.

    1. Thanks. I am always excited to hear from new cousins. Over the years they have been great sources of infomration and photos.

  2. Great read and extra special when you find a photo


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.