Born – Llanblethian, July 1886.
Died – Gallipoli, 16 August 1915.
Frank Dunn was a prominent amateur cricketer in the Vale of Glamorgan during the years leading up to the Great War. His decent batting record won him a place in Glamorgan’s side on two occasions in 1911, but he never got a further chance to translate his club form into a decent innings at county level, and four years later, he died whilst serving with the Welsh 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.
Indeed, Frank was 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. With Glamorgan CCC having ambitions of first-class status, the club’s officials kept an eye on the youngster’s progress with Cowbridge CC and the Glamorgan Gypsies, and in 1911 they selected him for the Minor County Championship match against Carmarthenshire at Stradey Park in Llanelli. It was though a fairly anonymous debut for Frank who did not bat or bowl, but did take a catch.
A fortnight later, Frank was included once 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. Frank and Jack duly departed on July 19th 1915 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 in 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.