Frank William Sims

Frank William Sims
Born in St Ives in 1896, Frank was one of four sons and one daughter delivered to George, a general labourer, and Elizabeth. The family lived in Bell Yard, just off the Waits, in St Ives, all seven crammed into four rooms along with Frank's grandmother. By 1911 Frank worked as an errand boy for a local ironmonger, Ruston and Co. William's father appeared in the local court in 1913 on a charge of being drunk and disorderly, as reported by the Hunts post on 3 January 1913.

Details of Frank's service in the War are sketchy. It's uncertain when he enlisted. He joined the 4th (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), London Regiment as a bugler. Buglers were used as a means of clear communication about changes in the daily routine of camp life. The bugler was also used to relay the commander's orders on the battlefield, signalling the troops to go forward, to the left or right, commence or cease firing etc. Musical ability was not necessarily a prerequisite, since a bugle is the simplest of brass instruments and tunes would be learned off by heart. Frank certainly experienced battle in the trenches.

Late October 1917 was a relatively quiet period in his sector. After six days manning the front line, on 22 October Frank and his colleagues were moved into reserve for four days. Billeted in the ruins of Vaulx-Vraucourt, they had baths, a change of underclothing and rest.

Vaulx-Vraucourt
Allied soldiers march through the ruins of Vaulx-Vraucourt
On Friday 26 October 1917 the group moved up to the front trenches again. Frank was killed in action on that day, aged 21yrs. News of his death was reported on 9 November 1917. The account states he was killed quite suddenly whilst speaking to one of his colleagues. This indicates he was shot by a sniper.

During the whole of October there were only six casualties in the Battalion. Frank was one of only two killed. He has no known grave and is commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Frank's older brother, George, was in trouble in the local court, mentioned in the Hunts Post on 6 February 1914. George enlisted at the beginning of the war, reported on 18 September 1914. Frank's younger brother, Arthur, also served in the War and was captured by the Germans, reported as a prisoner of war on 3 May 1918.

Do you have a photograph of Frank or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1901 Census
1911 Census
War diary, 4th (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), London Regiment
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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