Frank Eby - as identified on this photograph’s reverse side - was born on 10 August 1880 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada to Joel Erb Eby and Jane Hewton.
As early as 1897 William Franklin "Frank" Eby was serving as a private in the 14th Regiment, Princess of Wales's Own Rifles, and was still with the 14th when Canada entered the Anglo-Boer War. Seeking service overseas, Eby transferred into the Royal Canadian Artillery as No. 48, in "C" Battery on 29 December 1899.
One of three batteries ("C", "D" and "E") each armed with six breech-loading Ordnance BL 12-pounder 6-cwt guns, "C" Battery arrived at Cape Town on the SS Columbian in March 1900. Making an extended forced march the battery took part in the relief of Mafeking and was mentioned in Colonel Baden-Powell's despatch to the Canadian government for their "invaluable assistance". "C" Battery would see further action with Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Plumer's column until June 1901 when it returned home to Canada. Eby had apparently returned home prior to this since his service papers show him taking his discharge on 10 January 1901. Eby was presented with his Queen's South Africa Medal on 26 March 1902 along with the four clasps for which he was entitled which included "Relief of Mafeking", "Orange Free State", "Transvaal", and "Rhodesia". His later World War One service papers state that he suffered from bouts of both malaria and dysentery while in South Africa.
Frank's older brother, Daniel also served in the war with the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. Both men applied for their South African War land bounties in 1908.
Frank Eby would marry Annie McGuin at Kingston, Ontario on 5 January 1904 and the union would produce at least three children: Joel Conroy "Roy" Eby (1904 - 1999), Mary Magdalene Eby (1908- 1995), and Tootsie Eby (b. 1911).
The Eby had moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta sometime around 1904 prior to the birth of their first child and the family was still residing there when World War One broke out. Eby attested as sergeant No. 552270 with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 8 February 1915 at MacLeod, Alberta. Interestingly he stated that besides his service with 14th Regiment, Princess of Wales's Own Rifles prior to the Anglo-Boer War and his service in South Africa at some point he also served for one year with the Canadian Army Service Corps.
(The Canadian Contingent medal roll for the 1902 Edward VII Coronation Medal - dated 16 August 1902 - lists Private F. Eby of No. 3 Company, Army Service Corps as one of those entitled to the Coronation Medal. This man might possibly be our Frank Eby.)
Eby's service papers show that he was assigned to the 13th Canadian Mounted Rifles (8 February 1915 - June 1916) and later to Lord Strathcona's Horse once in England (June 1916 - October 1917) and in France with Lord Strathcona's Horse (October 1917 - October 1918). He was invalided back to England with a goiter in October 1918 and remained hospitalized at Epsom, Surrey until January 1919 when he returned to Canada for further treatment. He was discharged as unfit for further military duty on 12 June 1919 at Queen's Military Hospital, Kingstown, Ontario. Standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, Eby's weight at the time of discharge was only 130 pounds. This was no doubt brought on by the same thyroid condition that caused his goiter.
Eby was appointed lance corporal on 30 March 1918 after Lance Corporal R. S. Whitford was killed in action. He was promoted corporal on 28 April 1918 and then appointed acting sergeant with pay on 8 May 1918. His rank of sergeant was confirmed the following day. Although not mentioned in his service paper - the appropriate section being left blank – Frank Eby should have been entitled to both the British War and Victory medals.
Eby returned to Alberta briefly after the war but took his family to the United States around 1920, entering the U.S. via Eastport, Idaho. The Ebys settled in San Bernardino, California where one of his sisters was already residing. Here Frank found employment as a pumping engineer. In December 1928 his wife Annie passed away a the age of 48. Sometime after 1930, Eby remarried to Maude Geneva Savoie. Eventually, most of his family including his brother Daniel, a fellow Anglo-Boer War veteran as well as his parents Joel and Jane would relocate to San Bernardino, California. Additionally, after his arrival in the U.S. Eby began to go by his full name of William Franklin in official documents and correspondence. On 25 April 1942 61-year-old William Franklin Eby registered for the draft although at that age there was no real danger of this veteran of two wars being drafted into a third.
William Franklin "Frank" Eby passed away at his home in San Bernardino on 18 July 1953.