Hartlepool man married the love of his life - and died at war a year later

Stories of bravery are recounted in the Central Library display.
Stories of bravery are recounted in the Central Library display.

He lived to just 24 years of age before war took him.

The story of Frank Coultas is similar to so many which could be told of Hartlepool people who served in the First World War.

Sandra McKay. Picture by FRANK REID

Sandra McKay. Picture by FRANK REID

And people can find out more at an exhibition which is now running in town.

Chris Cordner found out more.

Frank Coultas seemed to have it all.

By the time he was 19, he had a job as a grocer’s assistant in 1911.

Frank served in the Army Service Corps in the First World War and he was killed at sea on April 15, 1917

Sandra McKay

Just four years later, he was a married man and had wed the love of his life.

Yet tragically, and just 17 months after his wedding day, he was killed.

Frank’s story is being told in an exhibition which is on show at the Central Library in York Road - 100 years after his death.

Library Officer Sandra McKay urged people to come along and explained more.

“Frank Coultas was born in West Hartlepool in March 1893. He lived with his parents Francis and Jane Coultas. Francis and Jane were both from Yorkshire and Francis’ father was an agricultural labourer.

“They married at All Saints Church Stranton, West Hartlepool in 1888 and the 1891 census shows the family living in Bower Street.

“But by 1901, and when Frank was 8 years old, they lived in Penrhyn Street.”

Sandra added: “They were still there in 1911 and the census shows that Frank had 5 living siblings. The census shows Frank working as a grocer’s assistant.”

Then came Frank’s finest day when he married Annie May Newton, 24, at All Saints Church, Stranton, on November 7, 1915.

It was a day of great joy, but joy was shortlived for the newly married Coultas couple.

Sandra explained: “Frank served in the Army Service Corps in the First World War and he was killed at sea on April 15, 1917.”

There were few other details of his death, other than that found by Sandra and her team. “His Army record shows his registered effects at death. His memorial is on the Chatby Memorial in Egypt.”

Frank’s story, and that of similarly tragic Hartlepool service personnel, is told in a tribute to the fallen.

The Central Library has launched its annual display in memory of service personnel from the First World War.

Sandra added: “The exhibition is based on men who have lost their lives in the First World War. There is also a small exhibition of wartime pieces such as a gas mask and regiment badges to name a few.”

The exhibition runs until Saturday, November 25. The library is open between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.

For more information, contact (01429) 272905.