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03 March 2010

Private Frank Leslie Ougden of Blackwood

Frank Ougden was the only son of Elizabeth Ougden (nee Chivell). He was born in 1893 at Alberton, and his father Charles James Ougden died when Frank was only one year old. At some point before the war his mother moved to Blackwood. After his schooling, Frank found work as a hardware assistant. Before the war he was an active member of the Anglican parish which included Blackwood, Belair and Coromandel Valley.

He enlisted on 26 August 1915 at the age of 22, and was allocated to the 2nd reinforcements of the 32nd Battalion. When he arrived in Egypt in February 1916 he was transferred to the 48th Battalion, which sailed to France in June 1916.

The 48th Battalion's first major battle in France was at Pozieres where, along with the rest of the 4th Division, it was responsible for defending positions previously captured by the 2nd Division. Over the period 5-7 August 1916, the battalion was hit by one of the longest and heaviest artillery barrages ever faced by Australian troops. During those three days the 48th Battalion suffered 104 killed, 418 wounded and 76 missing. On the evening of 6 August, 'Don' Company of the battalion, of which Frank was a member, relieved 'Ack' and 'Beer' Companies in the frontline, which by then consisted of open shell holes with no connecting trenches. During the following day Frank Ougden suffered shrapnel wounds to his left wrist, left thigh and spine.

Frank was evacuated to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, but died the following day and was buried at Puchevillers British Cemetery. He was 23 years old.

His name is inscribed on the Blackwood Soldiers' Memorial and an honour roll in Holy Innocents' Church, Coromandel Parade, Blackwood, as well as the State National War Memorial, North Terrace, Adelaide.

Photograph: Courtesy State Records of South Australia

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