Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Serjeant Francis Schultz M.M., Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds received in action during the fighting near Outtersteene in Flanders.
He was one of ten children of a tackler in a cotton mill, and his paternal grandfather had been a Prussian who moved to Liverpool and married an Irishwoman. Serjeant Schultz was named Francis after his parents’ first son, who had died shortly after birth. By the age of fourteen, he had left school and was working as a weaver.
In May of 1915 he joined the West Lancashire Brigade, the Royal Field Artillery, and later served in “A” Battery, 286 Brigade. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in action during the Battle of Passchendaele in November of 1917.
In early April, 1918, Serjeant Schultz’s battery was involved in the fighting at Outtersteene, in what was the beginning of the second phase of the German Spring Offensive. On the 9th they were bombarded with gas shells for five hours followed by an intense artillery bombardment, after which the enemy broke through their lines and captured four guns. They suffered over sixty casualties. Two days later the brigade withdrew to south of Outtersteene after having been pushed back, with “A” battery covering the retirement. The following day they were shelled and forced to withdraw, after which they engaged the enemy with intense fire. After a necessary further withdrawal the batteries were employed in harassing fire which continued through the night and the next day, when Serjeant Schultz lost his life. He lies buried in the Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery at Pas-de-Calais in France.
Francis, from Bamber Bridge, Preston, Lancashire, was 21 years old