Frank Joseph Sekulich
By: Pat MacFarlane
Frank Joseph Sekulich
Born: March 3, 1918
Died: April 4, 1945
At the mention of his name, my father’s eyes (Mark Sekulich) would fill with tears and he would leave the room. Faye (Gibney) Benson recalls watching November 11th Service from Ottawa with Grandma. Grandma cried so hard that Faye thought Grandma should go to Ottawa to lay a wreath. But they never talked about him in front of us. He went to war and never returned, it was in the past, if you didn’t talk about it you didn’t hurt. That was the Croatian way.
I have been told he was a happy-go-lucky man, but a bit short on temper. The other brothers knew if they got into a bind Frank would wade in and help them out. Rumor has it he liked to scap and took down more than 1 local fellow.
In the early years the country schools were used for dances. There were many schools and 2-3 dances a week. Frank went as much as possible. But he was up early the next morning telling everyone “Get up! People die in bed you know.”
Frank received a Grade 8 education at Hilledge and worked on the farm. He spent some time in Sudbury with family. He then went to B.C. where he worked as a fire fighter.
When the war broke out in 1939 he was 21. He attempted to enlist but was refused for reasons unknown.
In 1943 he tried again and was accepted. He formally enlisted on March 11, 1943 at Powell River, B.C. as Frank Nicholas Sekulich. He listed his trade as farmer, mill worker.
He did basic training in Vernon, B.C., Winnipeg, Man., Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Camp Shilo, Manitoba and Woodstock, Ontario.
On February 19, 1944 he was engaged to Lorraine McNeil while on furlough.
On August 16, 1944 he failed to return from leave. He was A.W.L. for 1 day and 12 hours. He was admonished for the offense, on open arrest and forfeited 2 days pay. I hope he had a good time for he shipped out to England August 31, 1944.
He was a member of Regina Rifles Regiment. They went to France on September 29, 1944. On February 13, 1945 he was promoted to Lt. Corporal. The regiment ended up in Holland. Another man from Kenaston, Bill Hobel was in the same regiment and was right beside him when he was killed by sniper fire April 5, 1945. Bill told Grandma he died instantly which was a source of comfort to her, knowing he didn’t suffer.
Frank is buried in Holten Canadian War Cemetery, in Holland, with 1,342 other Canadians.
As an item of interest, Canada played a major role in the liberation of Holland. Part of today’s school curriculum involves care and maintenance of these cemeteries. Each child is assigned a specific grave to visit and plant flowers. This was told to me by Gerarda Kaye, R.N., my co-worker who grew up in Holland.
In the Memorial Chamber at the base of Parliaments Peace Tower in Ottawa, Canada’s Books of Remembrance are displayed. The books are under glass and list in alphabetical order the names of the war dead. Each day at 11 am a page is turned in each book so that every name can at some time be read. A grateful nation recognizes his sacrifice every year on November 24th when page 562 is displayed.
I feel I know him now. He was 5’8” by his military records, handsome by his photos, a bit vain, charismatic, feisty and family oriented by all accounts.
I can’t help but wonder how different our family would have been had he come home. Another Aunt and Uncle and more cousins to swell over ranks. I often wonder how he would have made a living, where he would have lived and how his life would have affected us.
Submission by the niece of Frank Sekulich, Bev George. Thank you kindly, Julia Adamson
Lance Corporal Frank Sekulich
Birth: Mar. 3, 1918
Kenaston, Saskatchewan, Canada
Death: Apr. 5, 1945, Netherlands
Mathew Sekulich (1880 – 1953)
Eva Tomlenovich Sekulich (1885 – 1974)
Regina Rifle Regiment R.C.I.C.
Holten Canadian War Cemetery
Plot: II. E. 6.
Canadian Virtual War Memorial Frank Sekulich
Frank Sekulich article by Jan Braakman (Dutch investigative journalist and author) translated into English by Google
The original article by Jan Braakman is written in Dutch.
Frank Sekulich Biography ~ Powell River’s Unsung Heros Of World War II –dedicated to the 62 Servicemen who had ties to the Powell River, British Columbia, Canada area, who made the supreme sacrifice in World War II. Sekulich bio is near the bottom of the Powell River webpage.
Kenaston Cenotaph. Veteran’s Centennial Park and Cenotaph,
An article has been written about Frank Sekulich by Noudi Spönhoff for a Dutch magazine. The article reflected on Frank Sekulich who lost his life as a soldier when he bravely fought the Germans near the village of Almen, where the Canadians recaptured the ‘Ehzer bridge’. This bridge though often called a Canadian troops a Bailey bridge (Victoria Bridge) is actually a callender-Hamilton Bridge. As the Germans destroyed many bridges during the war, those which remain have intrinsic heritage value. As this one survived the war, it has been re-furbished.