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Sidney Bernard Frank (1877-1926)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Whitehorse Star - Friday, January 8, 1926

Sidney Frank Loses Life In Yukon River, 1926

    The town received a shock on Thursday morning when a telephone message from the Dam brought the news that Sid Frank had been drowned while taking soundings.

    The sad affair happened in the brief space of probably three minutes. Frank was in the boat taking the soundings. Adam Birnie was on the dam handling the rope by which the boat was moved. Herbert Wheeler, Jr., was keeping the end of the line clear. Supt. V. I. Hahn, who had just arrived at the dam the previous day, was recording the soundings as they were signalled to him by Frank. Five soundings had been taken and the boat was just being moved to the spot where the sixth sounding was to be taken when Birnie noticed a slackening of the rope. For some reason the boat had darted up stream and the nose ran up on the apron of the dam. Frank made an unsuccessful attempt to push it off; the boat swerved to the side, dipped water and swamped. When the boat began to dip Frank jumped to the bow and grabbed the rope. Birnie quickly arranged a noose on another rope to lower to Frank, but in the meantime (probably 10 seconds) Frank had released his hold on the boat rope and struck out to swim for the south shore but in a few moments he disappeared under the water and was not seen again.

    Sidney Frank and Adam Birnie had both worked on the dam during its construction. Since the completion Frank has been in charge of the caretaking with Birnie as his assistant.

    Mr. Birnie says that they took the soundings quite frequently and that they never had the slightest suspicion of danger. Anything they asked for in the way of equipment was provided them and no request was made of them where the slightest risk might be suspected.

    Sidney Bernard Frank came here with the Mounted Police in the early days. He was about fifty years of age. His parents and two sisters reside in England. He was planning a trip home for this coming summer.

    Adam Birnie was a close personal friend and he feels very keenly the loss of his work mate and companion. Sid Frank was well known and deservedly popular, and the sympathy of his many friends in. Yukon will go out to the sorrowing family in the old land.

The Whitehorse Star - Saturday, April 24, 1926

The Body of Sidney Frank Recovered Yesterday, 1926

    Yesterday morning Charles Ennis discovered the body of a man in the river close to the mouth of Wolf Creek. He went on to the Dam, a distance of about nine miles, and notified Supt. V. I. Hahn. Accompanied by Kenny McIver, H. W. Coombs and L. A. Vinal, Mr. Hahn as quickly as possible left ih a motor boat for the place where Mr. Ennis reported the body to be secure in an eddy. As fully anticipated the body was that of Sidney Bernard Frank, who lost his life through drowning at the Dam on January 7th last. The body was carried from the river to Wiegan, the nearest point on the White Pass & Yukon Railway, to which point a train was despatched to bring it to Whitehorse.

    The funeral was held this afternoon from the Masonic rooms and was attended by many old friends of the deceased. The service was conducted by Rev. W. H. L. West, Rector of Christ Church. The pallbearers were V. I. Hahn, Adam Birnie, J. E. French, L. A. Vinall, H. W. Coombs and C. H. Johnston.

    The southbound train was held over a day in order that Mr. Hahn might attend the funeral. Adam Birnie came down from the Dam to be present at the funeral of his friend and companion.

    The bereaved family in the old land will be comforted to learn that the body of their loved one has been recovered and tenderly laid to rest in the cemetery here.