Sapper Frank Boxall

Frank BoxallRegiment: 219th Field Company, Royal Engineers
Service No: 100812
Date & place of birth: 15 April 1880 in Lodsworth
Date & place of death: 4 April 1917 on the Somme, aged 36

Frank Boxall grew up, married and fathered five children in Lodsworth prior to World War 1. He was killed whilst serving with the Royal Engineers on the Western Front. Following his death, his wife and at least one of his children remained in Lodsworth up until 1990

Family background

Frank Boxall was born in Lodsworth on 15 April 1880 and baptised in St Peter’s church on 13 June 1880. He was the fourth child of Arthur Boxall, a gamekeeper and general labourer, originally from North Ambersham, and his wife Rebecca née Smith, originally from Rogate. His parents were living at Lodsworth Common.

By 1891 the family were living in Leggatt Hill and by 1901 in one of the cottages of Woolhurst Farm, Lodsworth.

In 1904 Frank married Ruth Hewlett, originally from Ashington, Sussex, and they had five children – Alfred Hewlett (1905), Lily Caroline (1906), Frank (1910) who lived for only two days, Olive Ruth (1912) and Albert Arthur Frank (1914). The Lodsworth National School Admissions Register shows Alfred and probably Lily enrolling in 1910 and 1911 respectively.

By 1911 Frank was a jobbing bricklayer living with his wife and children at Leggatt Hill, Lodsworth.

Military service

Section 4 219th Field Company RE 32 Divison at Codford St Mary, Wiltshire. Frank Boxall is at far right on end of middle row. He has a bushy moustache and a bag hooked over his left shoulder.
Section 4 219th Field Company RE 32 Divison at Codford St Mary, Wiltshire. Frank Boxall is at far right at end of second row. He has a bushy moustache and a bag hooked over his left shoulder.

Frank enlisted in Petworth and became Sapper 100812 in the 219th Field Company of the Corps of Royal Engineers, part of the 32nd Division. In November 1915 the Division received a warning order to prepare to sail for France. It remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war. During 1916 it took part in the Battle of Albert, the Battle of Bazentin and the Battle of the Ancre, phases of the Battles of the Somme.

Death & commemoration

At the beginning of April 1917 the company was billeted at Germaine, west of St Quentin, and were working nearby at Pommery Chateau. During this time, Frank was wounded. He died of his wounds on 4 April aged 36.

Frank Boxall's initial grave
Frank Boxall’s initial grave

He was buried initially in a temporary grave and moved later to grave I.B.2 at the Cayeux Military Cemetery in the Somme, France. He is also commemorated on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Subsequent family history

Frank’s widow Ruth, by then living in The Street, Lodsworth, died in 1951 aged 71 and is buried in St Peter’s churchyard.

Frank’s son Alfred Hewlett married Hilda (probably Hilda Fifield) in 1936. By 1939 he was a fence maker, most likely working for Morley & Sons at Lodsbridge. He died in 1998.

Lily Caroline married John E W Savage in 1932 and by 1939 they were living in Hailsham, Sussex, where he was a market gardener & nurseryman. Lily died in 1993.

Olive Ruth married Herbert William (Bill) Webb in 1944. The Webbs lived for many years in May Cottage in Lodsworth. Olive died in 1990 and Bill in 2007.

Albert Arthur Frank served in the Royal Navy in WW2 and in 1940 married Florence Louisa Bosworth. He died in Cornwall in 1996.

 

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project