He was mayor of Mosman Council in 1939 and 1940.
SYDNEY OFFICER'S NARROW ESCAPE.
ATTACKED BY MOB.
A Sydney officer. Lieutenant Frank G. Pursell, of the Royal Air Force, son of Mr. A. B. Pursell, of Mosman, had a perilous experience in the streets of Alexandria recently, and only narrowly escaped serious injury or death at the hands of dlsaffected natives. In describing the incident, in a letter to his father, he says:-
"Things are still pretty lively out hero in Egypt, as no doubt you have learned from the papers. About a week ago it was not safe for anyone in khaki to venture into town, so a G.O.C. order confined every officer and other ranks to barracks, and if staying at an hotel they were supposed to stay indoors. I had to go out. I met big mobs parading the streets and kicking up an awful row, but, cutting up side streets, I managed to side-step the beggars apart from being cursed and spat at.
"About 8.30 p.m. I started back to the docks. No trams, taxis, or garries were running, so I had to walk. Looking up a side street, I saw the Bourse (the main square of the town) was simply a seethlng mass of tarbooshs. Of course, I kept away from the crowds as much as possible, and thought I was well away, but when I came to the lower quarters of the town I had the option of going either along Sister-street, or through the slums.
"I chose the former, and had just got into the street, when I was surrounded by a mob of fanatics, who had just turned into the street from the Bourse. Tbey were for the most part drunk or silly through smoking hushlsh, or perhaps it was their religious fervour. At any rate, they jostled me, and good- ness knows what would have happened if I had not had my revolver with me. As it was, I opened the holster and gripped the bulb, seeing which the Gypos stood off. I then got on to the pavement, the buildings protecting me from being attacked from behind (the favourlte fashion of Egyptian attack).
"I started to walk along crab-fashion, keeping my eyes on the mob which kept pace with me on the road, and contenting themselves by pelting me with rubbish and curses (the road was destitute of stones, thank goodness). I had gone some little way, when I almost fell through a half-open doorway. It was a Greek shop. The owner had seen the trouble, and was waiting just inside for me. I thanked him for his kindness, but refused to take shelter, thinking the mob might wreck his place, as they have done many others.
"After a while the mob got tired of the game, knowing that if they attacked me at least three or four of them would regret it, so they turned up a side street after putting up an extra good salvo of rubbish and choice insults. Soon afterwards I arrived back at the docks, Jolly thankful. The day after I had trouble with the mob in Sister-street. 16 Tommies were killed In the Bourse by the crowd. Some of the fellows said I should have let fly at them, but I think if I had the mob would have rushed me and trampled me down by sheer numbers. Also, I had only six rounds on me."
Frank Grenville Pursell, 31, received a Bronze medal at a Town Hall ceremony for Bravery, for rescuing Phylls Wallace from drowning at Bilgola Beach.
The Queen has made an award of an OBE (Officer) in the Commonwealth Relations Office List of honours to Frank Grenville Pursell.
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