Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Captain Frank Woolfe Haldinstein, 2nd London Division, Signal Section, Royal Engineers, died of wounds received during the fighting at Bray-sur-Somme, a village nine kilometres east of Albert (a key location in the Battle of the Somme). London District Signals was a headquarters signal unit of the Royal Engineers and later Royal Corps of Signals in the Territorial Army from 1908, seeing action at Gallipoli and on the Western Front during the Great War.
One of a family of nine children, Captain Haldinstein was educated at Christ Church College, Oxford. His paternal grandfather was an émigré from Breslau; his maternal grandfather had fled the French revolution and set up a shoe company which became Bally and Haldinstein of Norwich; one of his uncles was Norwich’s first Jewish Lord Mayor and later the first Lord Mancroft.
Captain Haldinstein had originally served as a Private with the Royal Engineers before being gazetted in 1915 and achieving the rank of Captain. He is buried in the Bray Military Cemetery, which lies north of the village, and his name is on the Thorpe St. Andrew Memorial in Norwich.
In his preface to “Authority in the Modern State” (1919) Harold Laski, a British political theorist, economist, author and lecturer, wrote:
“This book would have gone to my friend Frank Haldinstein, scholar, of Christ Church and captain in the Royal Engineers. But his name has been added to the list on which the Oxford of my generation will write with undying pride. When I look back on certain magic nights at Oxford and re-read these pages in the light of their memory, I realise how halting they are compared to the things they would have said. But I take it that for them the one justification of this conflict would have been the thought that we who are left are trying in some sort to understand the problems of the state they died to make free. To have known them was an education in liberty.”
Frank, from Norwich, was 22 years old.