A WW1 Death

On this day (17 November) in 1915 former Manchester City, Oldham Athletic and Hyde forward Frank Hesham was killed in action in Belgium (often reported as northern France at the time of his death). The Gorton born player was on City’s books for 5 years during the late 1890s. Here’s a profile of his life and career:

Frank Hesham began his football career at St Francis (the well-known Catholic monastery and related school in Gorton) before joining City in November 1896. He made his debut at Newcastle United in February 1897. Sadly, the game ended in a 3-0 defeat and Hesham was unable to establish himself in the team. 

In total he only made three first team appearances for the Blues and one reserve game over a period of about five years.

Brief spells at Crewe and Accrington followed before he signed for Stoke in May 1904. 17 Stoke appearances followed before he moved to Leyton Orient, returning north to join Oldham in August 1907.

He made his Oldham debut in a 3-0 victory over Hull City on 28 September 1907 and it finally looked as if he’d found the right club. He stayed at Boundary Park for a couple of years, playing 29 first team games before joining Preston North End in 1909.

The move to Preston was not a success and two months later he joined Croydon Common in the Southern League where he scored 27 in 55 appearances. Another return north came – he clearly had reasons for wanting to alternate between southern and northern clubs so frequently which have yet to be identified – and he joined Hyde.

Hesham also played for Newton Heath Albion but was working as a clerk in Manchester when war broke out. 

The following details of his military service and death are from the website: https://www.footballandthefirstworldwar.org

First World War Service

Gunner 53546 Hesham, who had pre-war service with the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (time-served), enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) on 18 November 1914 and was subsequently sent for basic training. After leaving Number 2 Depot, Gosport, Gnr Hesham was posted to 21 Siege Battery RGA and landed in the French port of Boulogne on 25 May 1915. On 29 September 1915, Hesham was granted short leave before returning to his unit on 3 October 1915 – just two weeks before the Second Battle of Ypres. On 17 November 1915, Gnr Hesham was killed in action and subsequently buried at La Clytte Military Cemetery, located 8km south-west of Ypres. He left a widow and a 14 year-old son who lived in Longsight, Manchester.

Manchester City November 1914

This is a squad photo of Manchester City, who then led the League and Central League, from November 1914. There are many, many things to say about this image and the people featured but sadly I don’t have time today. A couple of brief points though – look out for Albert Alexander senior (City director) in bow tie crouching and Pat McGuire (3rd player from left on back row) who was sadly killed in WW1. There are a few men on here who were also significant at MUFC including Ernest Mangnall (manager) and Leslie Knighton (assistant manager).