Mark Franklin

838074 Pte. Mark Lane Franklin was born on February 2nd, 1894, in Wallaceburg, Ontario. Moving to Owen Sound with his family, Mark was working as a piano tuner when the war broke out. Mark joined the independent infantry companies being formed by the 31st Regiment. These two companies formed the nucleus of the 147th Battalion when they all attested to the new battalion on November 27, 1916.

Billeted locally over the winter the unit left for training at Camp Niagara in the spring of 1916. As the conditions in the Camp were wanting the unit moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. It was while in Borden that Mark would receive a harmonica as a gift from his Aunt. In September the unit received their orders to proceed overseas, but they were detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia, for over a month when a number of soldiers, including Mark, contracted diphtheria.

The unit finally sailed for Great Britain, on November 14th 1916. On January 1st, 1917 the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th Battalion and the 4th C.M.R. Having obtained the rank of A/Corporal, Mark would revert to the rank of Private so he could be sent on a draft of men to the 4th C.M.R. on April 22nd, 1917. Mark would write in his diary how on the trip up the line, he entertained himself and his fellow soldiers with his harmonica.

On June 25th Mark was manning the trenches in the vicinity of Newhaven, when an artillery barrage hit the front lines. Mark received wounds to his back, shoulder and right leg and was buried when the trench collapsed on him. Wounded and buried he remained there for the day until he could be recovered under the cover of darkness.

Family oral history tells how Mark was taken as dead and was laid out with others, covered in a sheet, when someone noticed him moving. Evacuated through the medical system and after months of rehabilitation Private Mark Franklin's war had come to an end as he was medically discharged on January 30th, 1918. Back in Canada Mark's recovery continued as he would take therapy for the mental trauma he had suffered. This therapy included a writing work shop where Mark composed his thoughts. Writing about himself and the others who had returned injured in so many different ways, Mark referred to them as, "...the living-dead (the broken-physically-mentally-morally)".

Mark Lane Franklin passed away on May 10th, 1953.

Thanks and credit go to Mark Stevenson for the image and George Auer for the biography.