Frank Dunn was a prominent amateur cricketer in the Vale of Glamorgan during the years leading up to the Great War. His outstanding batting record with Cowbridge CC resulted in his selection twice for Glamorgan during 1911. His business commitments prevented him from accepting further offers to play at county level and translate his club form into a decent innings for Glamorgan. Tragically, four years later Frank was one of hundreds killed whilst serving with the Welch Regiment in Gallipoli.
His father Frederick was a mining engineer who, after much business success in the Rhondda Valley, lived at The Cross, a large manor house in the village of Llanblethian. Frank had three brothers, as well as a sister, with all of the Dunn boys attending Cowbridge Grammar School where they shone in the classroom as well as on the sports field. Indeed, much to their father’s delight, the Dunn’s were able to raise their own family XI which played at the Cowbridge ground with Frank’s sister acting as scorer.
Frank had been one of the leading schoolboy batsmen in South Wales during the 1900s and, after leaving Cowbridge Grammar, the tall and imposing young man attended Cardiff University whom he also represented with some success before training as an engineer. After some impressive innings for Cowbridge CC and the Glamorgan Gypsies, he was called up by the Glamorgan selectors for the Minor County Championship match against Carmarthenshire at Stradey Park in Llanelli. It proved to be a fairly anonymous debut for Frank who did not bat or bowl, but did take a catch.
A fortnight later, Frank was included again in the Glamorgan side which met Staffordshire in a fund-raising two-day match at the Arms Park. Frank batted at number ten in the first innings and managed a single before being bowled by the legendary Sidney Barnes, but he met with less success in the second innings where batting at number nine he was dismissed for nought.
Sadly, the game with Staffordshire was also the last time his proud father saw him play in a major game as, at the end of August, Frederick Dunn died aged 67. The outbreak of War saw Frank and his elder brother Jack join the Fifth Battalion of the Welch Regiment. They were initially stationed at Pontypridd, before moving during the Autumn of 1914 for further training near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. February 1915 saw the Battalion travel to Scotland to form part of the Forth and Tay Defences.
After a month or so, they were transferred to Bedford where further training took place ahead of the campaign in the Dardanelles. Frank and Jack duly departed on July 19th with their Battalion from Devonport Services in Plymouth and were involved in the manoeuvres on Turkish soil at Suvla Bay on August 9th. The day after the landings, Frank – aged 29 – was killed during the heavy crossfire from Turkish positions as the Battalion tried to move inland. Just five days later Jack also lost his life in skirmishes with the Turkish troops as the Welsh Regiment attempted to consolidate their position near some wooded hills overlooking the Bay.
By the time the brigade were evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt during December 1915, it was estimated that they had lost around 85% of their full strength and, like so many others who lost their lives in the abortive campaign, neither Frank or Jack have any known graves and are instead commemorated on the Helles Memorial.
DUNN, Francis William Morgan.
Born – Llanblethian, July 1886.
Died – Gallipoli, 16 August 1915.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendly – 1 v Staffordshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1911.