Frank Swannell was 34 when he enlisted in Victoria on February 2, 1915. He was married to Ada Mary, had two young children and had already embarked on a career as a land surveyor.
With his training, he proved very useful to the Army as a map maker, surveying and laying out trenches in France. He kept meticulous diaries that include many illustrations, photographs and memorabilia. Arriving in France in 1915 he saw action at Festubert.
Suffering from a head injury and what was likely shell shock, he spent several years convalescing in England and on light duties. But by 1919, he was fit enough to volunteer with the Allied forces fighting against the Bolsheviks in Siberia.
Once again wounded, he finally came home in 1920. Frank Swannell went on to a long and illustrious career as a surveyor in some of the most rugged parts of British Columbia, and his surveying diaries, photographs and field books are also held at the BC Archives.
Find these records in the BC Archives
Diaries of Frank Cyril Swannell.