Lance Corporal Frank Scutt was born in Bury, Sussex in 1883, the son of a chalk pit worker. He was killed in 1916, at the age of 33, while serving with the 13th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment at the Battle of Pozieres on the Somme.
Frank Scutt was the third child of Thomas Scutt (1851–1916) and his wife, Fanny née Sadler (1855–1910).
Thomas was the son of an agricultural labourer and married Fanny in the spring of 1879. They lived in Bury, north of Arundel, and Thomas was a Railway/Agricultural Labourer. The couple had seven children, although the first born died aged 14 in 1893. At the time of the 1901 Census they had moved to the High Street in Amberley and only Frank and his youngest three siblings, Evelyn, Alice and Charles, were living at home. Both Frank and his father worked at the chalk pit; by 1911, Frank was employed as a lime burner. Fanny died in 1910.
On 2 October 1912, Frank married Kate Moulding who was the daughter of a shepherd from the tiny village of North Stoke, two miles south of Amberley. They had two sons, Thomas, born in August 1913 and Frank, born in October 1914, and lived at Jasmine Cottage in Cocking. Frank now worked as a Limeburner on the Cowdray Estate.
Frank enlisted at Hastings on 3 December 1914, joining the 3rd South Downs Battalion which became the 13th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, where he achieved the rank of Lance Corporal. He went to France on 5 March 1916.
In July 1916, the offensive on the Somme began; on the first day of the “Big Push”, Frank was wounded in the chest, although he soon recovered. Despite 85,000 British casualties in the Battle of Albert, the British breached the first line of German defences north of the Somme River. However they were now faced with a complete second line of defences which extended along the ridge of high ground from Thiepval in the north to the villages of Guillemont and Ginchy in the south.
On 20 July, Frank was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, where he fought alongside his wife’s brother, Jesse Moulding.
Death and commemoration
It was during this second phase of the Battle of the Somme that Lance Corporal Frank Scutt was killed on 23 July 1916. In the assault on the village of Pozieres, the 1st British Division attacked the western end of a defensive line, known as “Munster Alley”. They had to pass through a barrage before assembling, and subsequently, while creeping forward to assault, were seen by the enemy in the light of his flares. Heavy machine-gun fire was opened, and the leading companies of the 2nd Royal Sussex lost all their officers but one, and 109 men; of these 116 men, one officer and 24 men were killed.
Frank Scutt’s body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the “Missing of the Somme” who have no known grave, as well as on the Cocking War Memorial.
His obituary in the West Sussex Gazette said that Frank died “For England and home”.
“Christ will link the broken chain, when in Heaven we meet again”.
Subsequent family history
Kate continued to live in this area of West Sussex until her death aged 92 in 1977. Thomas married Blanche Gill in 1941; the couple had three children, two of whom continue to live locally. Thomas died in 1989. Frank junior married Alice Bray in 1950; the couple settled in the Croydon area and had three children. Frank died in 1988.