The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Francis Lyle
- Nick Name:
- Lieutenant (appointed 1 Nov 1940)
- Regimental #:
- Headquarters Company, No. 1 Platoon Sigs. (replaced by Lt. K. Lee)
- Place of Birth:
- Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Carlyle Curnow
- Mothers's Name:
- Naomi Curnow
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Kranji War Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave 10, Age 24.
- Cause of Death:
- Killed in Action
- Place of Death:
- Hill 200, Ulu Pandan
- Date of Death:
- Where killed at map reference 763162 by Major A. Clough Party on 21.12.1942
Frank Curnow never saw his new-born son. The ‘Aquitania’ anchored at Gage Roads off Fremantle on the night 15 Jan 1942, and a great number of 2/4th machine Gunners jumped ship to see their families for what they thought may be the last time. It had been nearly six months six the battalion left WA. Curnow remained on board, bitterly disappointed of course but had time to write to his wife to tell her his sadness.
CO of HQ Coy No. Platoon No. 1 Signals, Lt Frank Curnow was dead within a month. He was KIA Hill 200 Ulu Padan 12 Feb 1942 aged 24 years.
His body was not recovered and buried until 21 Dec 1942 when Major Cough’s Party was finally given permission by the Japanese, to locate their dead. His body was later interred and buried at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.
As Cough gave a sermon at the top of Hill 200 where the bodies were buried by the party he led, he later wrote in his diary his thoughts at that moment were of the young men who had lost their lives needlessly. Cough was accommodated at Woodside in the room next door to Frank Cough, and he would hear him every day say good morning to the photo of his son Lyle, whom he never saw.
Curnow’s family did not have to wait until 1945 to learn of his death as so many others did.
Curnow had previously been with 28th Btn Militia.
Attended No. 27 Course Army School of Sigs, Liverpool, NSW from 10/2/1941 to 23/3/1941.
Frank Curnow was killed in action at Ulu Plandan on 12th February 1942. Below is a detailed handwritten letter by Major Cough outlining all the information to hand about Curnow’s death.
He was killed by machine-gun fire through his chest. The Battalion suffered heavy casualties and all officers were killed.
Frank’s parents Carlyle Curnow and Agnes ‘Naomi’ Robinson married Kalgoorlie in 1914. We believe Frank was one of three sons (Stan and Don) followed by 2 daughters Gwen and Barbara. Carlyle Curnow died in 1968 and Naomi Curnow died in 1977 in Perth.
His brother Don Curnow had a miraculous journey to safety following a plane crash in May 1943 WW2.
The Curnow family was to endure another terrible family tragedy – in October 1951 youngest daughter Gwen died in an air crash near Kalgoorlie. She was one of 10 persons killed in the Airlines (WA) Ltd. crash.
Gwen had completed her nursing training.
At 17 years Frank Curnow commenced working at WAGR, Kalgoorlie as a junior clerk and moved through the ranks until he enlisted in 1940.
Frank was a keen competitive rifle shooter.
Frank Curnow married Gladys Jean Rogers about 1937, they had one surviving son Lyle, as well as two sad infant deaths.
Below is notice of death of Jean Curnow’s father.
Jean Curnow never remarried and died in Perth in 2009.
Carlyle Curnow died 1968 in Perth and Naomi Curnow died 1977.