Frank Rupert Joyce was born in about January 1897 in St Ives, Huntingdon. Frank was the middle child of five children born to Frank Joyce and Mary Annie Pilgrim.
At the time of the 1901 Census, records show Frank, his parents and siblings had moved to 169 Maidstone Road, Rochester. His father was working as a Railway Agent for the GNR. Father Frank continued to work for the railway at the time of the 1911 Census and the family remained at this address during this time.
Frank enlisted in Chatham. He entered the Theatre of War in France on 15 November 1915 serving as a Private in the 24th Battalion, London Regiment of the Royal Fusiliers. Regiment no SP/2615.
The 24th Battalion was formed in London on 20 November 1914. The battalion moved to Hornchurch in March 1915. By June 1915 the Brigade was under the command of the 99th Brigade, 33rd division. In November 1915 the Brigade landed in Boulogne. Frank Rupert would have with his Brigade when they landed. On 13 December 1915, the brigade transferred to the 5th Brigade in 2nd Division.
On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Although the bombardment last 7 days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt the exploit the modest successes of the first day. The German Army resisted and repeated attacked and counter attacks. The village of Thiepval was finally captured at the end of September.
On 31 July 1916, Frank was killed in action. Like many of his fellow soldiers he is remembered in The Thiepval Memorial Cemetery. This cemetery is a Memorial to the Missing of the Somme and bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.
Frank was awarded three of the British campaign medals, the 1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Affectionately known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.
References and links:
British Army WWI Medal Roll Index Card 1914-1920
Find a Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current
Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Long long trail
Photograph from ancestry.com
Karen Mapley, 2016