Name: Francess Burleigh Caless

 

Birth Date: 17 April, 1894 Where: Southport, Queensland
Died: 4 August, 1916 Where:Pozieres, France
Place of Enlistment:Brisbane, Queensland Age: 21
Serial Number: Captain Battalion: 26th
Rank on Enlistment: 2nd Lieutenant Rank on Discharge/Death: Captain

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal,

 

Photograph Caless

This photo is a part of the Kennedy Regiment Library, a special collection held at the Hinchinbrook Shire Library. The photo is used with permission from the Hinchinbrook Shire Council.”

Service Details:

 

 

19 April

1915                      Enlisted

20 April

1915                      Appointed 2nd Lieutenant

6 June

1915                      Embarked Australia

10 October

1915                      Appointed Lieutenant

10 Sept. – 12 Dec.

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

2 June

1916                      Appointed Captain

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

29 July

1916                      Pozieres (Sausage Valley)

4 August

1916                      Killed in Action, Pozieres

17 September

1916                     Recommended for MID, not awarded

   

 

 

Biographical Details:

Francis Burleigh Caless was born in Southport, Queensland, on 17th April, 1894 to George William and Delia (Burleigh) Caless.  He grew up in Charters Towers where his father had a farm. His mother died in 1903 when Francis was only 9 years old.


In late 1917, in a very proud but poignant letter to the army, Francis’s father sought information about his missing son.  George Caless explained that just prior to the outbreak of war he had remarried and Francis who was resentful about the marriage moved in with his aunt (George’s sister).  After enlisting, Francis nominated his brother, also George, as next of kin.  George when he enlisted in 1916 transferred Francis’s next-of-kinship to their aunt.  Consequently the father never received any information from the AIF nor Francis’s effects when they were returned to Australia.


Before enlisting Francis had served 3 years, two as 2nd Lt, with the Citizens Force 2nd Infantry – hence the “2” on his hat.  On 19th April, 1915 Francis enlisted in the 26th battalion. He was quickly appointed A/Sgt and on 20th May promoted to Second Lieutenant.  (Francis’s father was awarded his Form of Commission on June 18th, 1918.) He was appointed Captain on June 2nd, just 4 days before the trench raid.  This was the rank he held when killed at Pozieres 8 weeks later.


With the rest of the 26th battalion Francis sailed from Brisbane to Egypt, on the Ascanius, on 24/5/16, for further training, before joining the ANZAC Corp at Gallipoli on 4 September, 1916. The 7th brigade left Gallipoli for Lemnos Island early December 1915 and then back to Egypt before eventually  embarking for Franc,  in March 1916.


Francis volunteered for the June6/7 trench raid.  As part of the training all officers and NCOs went on night patrols in no man’s land. Caless led one of those patrols. His duty during the raid was to lead the left trench party.  His party captured several Germans and killed others. Pte Ferdinand Church received a MM while under Caless’s command.
Pte Daniel Quinn in a letter to his mother was impressed by the fact that Capt. Caless was able to arrange for artillery to back up the raid on the second night.  Of course the possibility of using artillery had been considered long before the raid but Quinn’s comments could be an indication of the soldiers’ regard for Caless’s leadership.


Caless’s ability was never an issue with his superiors.  He was appointed his battalion’s Intelligence Officer and wrote a report on the Battalion’s involvement in the attack at Pozieres on 28th July. On 4th August his battalion was involved in another attack on the Heights of Pozieres.  It was during this attack that Capt. Caless was killed. Brigadier General Paton described Caless’s efforts in a brigade recommendation for a Mention In Despatches:
For gallantry as leader of the second wave in the attack on POZIERS RIDGE on the night of 4th August 1916. He led his men through the first line of German trenches to the second and then went out personally in charge of a patrol to reconnoitre position forward of the captured position.  He is missing and it is feared that he was killed.
The recommendation was not approved by the 2nd Division H.Q.


After initially being informed that his brother was missing in action, George Caless, in April 1917, wrote seeking information about his brother.  A subsequent investigation by the Red Cross yielded the following information:
Pte G. J. Connors, a machine gunner of the same battalion, stated that Caless was inspecting a machine gun position when he and the machine gunners were hit by a shell burst which killed him and wounded the machine gunners. 


Captain Francis Burleigh Caless’s remains were discovered in 1930, near Pozieres, and were reinterred at Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, Beaumont Hamel. His recovered identity disk and chain and an epaulette with 3 pips were given to his father.