Francis M. Bruce

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Francis [Frank] Miles Bruce was born at Launceston, Tasmania on 20 January 1882, the eldest of three sons and a daughter born to Sarah Ann nee Lewin and Maxwell Bruce, a mining engineer.

According to Launceston's Daily Telegraph (16 February 1889:2S) Maxwell Bruce was the managing director of the Ringarooma Tin Mining Company which occupied some 500 acres in the Ringarooma valley area. He was also one of the original shareholders in Tasmania's famous Briseis Tin Mines: for many years he was its manager.

On Monday, 6 July 1891, the contents of the Bruce family home in Launceston were advertised for sale at auction in the Launceston Examiner (p.4:e). The family immediately moved to Ballarat where Frank Bruce became a student at Grenville College, before he began to work in the local mines. In 1903, Francis Miles Bruce listed his occupation as 'miner' on the Victoria Electoral Roll for Ballaarat West. By 1909, he was engaged in completing a Certificate in Mine Management at the Ballarat School of Mines (his occupation was listed as 'student' on the 1909 Victoria Electoral Roll - Ballaarat West).

In the meantime, his father Maxwell Bruce continued to successfully invest in mines: he died at Ballarat on 21 May 1915, aged 82 years.

Military Experience

2nd Lieutenant Francis M. Bruce enlisted in the AIF at Roseville, NSW on 14 September 1916, aged 34 years 7 months. He had previously been employed as a mining engineer with Amalgamated Zinc at Broken Hill, NSW. On the accompanying form headed Application for a Commission in the AIF, (also dated 14 September 1916) Bruce acknowledged that he had already served 3 years in the Cadet Corps at Grenville College, Ballarat; 18 weeks E.O.Y.S.; had been Gazetted 2nd Lieut on 1 July 1914, then Gazetted 1st Lieut A.E. on 1 July 1915; and he served 2 years as Lieutenant in the A.F.E. 4th Military District at Ballarat, VIC, before becoming a Lieutenant in the 12th Field Coy, A.E. at Broken Hill, NSW.

According to the Medical Officer, 2nd Lieut Frank Bruce stood 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighed 12 stone. He named his wife, Emily who was resident at 'Devonia', 410 Clarendon Street, Ballarat as his next of kin.

Frank Bruce was immediately assigned to Australian 2nd Tunnelling Company, ANZAC Reinforcements and sent to Seymour, VIC for further training. On 25 October 1916 he embarked for France via England on the HMAT Ulysses (in the company of another former SMB student, Glyndwr David Evans who was also with 2nd Tunnelling Company). After marching to Etaples from Marseilles, Bruce was assigned to the 1st ANZAC Entrenching Battalion early September.

However, Bruce's legs had begun to swell in the summer heat during July 1917. Over time he also developed severe migraine-like headaches and shortness of breathe, and he had to sit up in bed. Then he began to develop amnesia and over the summer period he lost a considerable amount of weight. He eventually reported sick in France on 24 September 1917, and was promptly admitted to the Staging Hospital at Boulogne. By then Frank Bruce was extremely ill: his condition had worsened so much a diagnosis of Albuminuria Nephritis was easily made.

On 17 October 1917, Bruce was transferred to the 3rd London General Hospital in England, where he remained for 11 days. Whilst in their care, his case was brought before an AMF Medical Board which promptly declared him permanently disabled. It was agreed that Bruce be transferred into the care of a private specialist, and he was then transferred to Cobham Hall for one month's rehabilitation. On the 25 November 1917, the AIF decided Lieut Bruce would be returned to Australia on the hospital ship Karoola. His term of appointment with the AIF was officially ended on 16 March 1918.

Lieut Francis M. Bruce returned to live in Tasmania in the aftermath of World War One. He continued in his profession as a mining engineer: in 1922 he was living in the Hobart suburb of Moonah. By 1928 he was resident at 41 Bay Road, New Town, Hobart. Bruce and his family remained there until his death at the local Repatriation Hospital on 20 March 1938, aged 56 years. A private funeral was held, there were no flowers by request, and his cremation took place at the Crematorium, Cornelian Bay on Monday, 21 March 1928.

Frank Bruce was survived by his wife Emily, and their three children, Maxwell, Mary and Jean.

See also


<> <> <> <Victoria Electoral Rolls - Ballaarat West, 1903, 1909, 1914> <Tasmania Electoral Rolls - Denison,New Town, 1928, 1937> <Tasmania Electoral Rolls - Franklin, Moonah, 1922> <Obituary: Maxwell Bruce -> <> <> <> <>

Other links

--Di Campbell (talk) 03:04, 28 July 2014 (EST)