Frank Harold BOYES

BOYES, Frank Harold

Service Number: 419
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 14th Infantry Battalion
Born: 1885, place not yet discovered
Home Town: Rushworth, Campaspe, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
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World War 1 Service

22 Dec 1914: Involvement Private, SN 419, 14th Infantry Battalion
22 Dec 1914: Embarked Private, SN 419, 14th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne


Lt Boyes was in the line at Passchendaele in 20 October 1917.

In his last ever letter written to home, dated 20 October 1917, Capt H. V Walklate records his location as
"In a dugout with 2/Lt Ramsey Wood and 2/Lt Boyes"
Capt Walklate was killed by shellfire the next day.

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Biography contributed by Cornerstone College

Early life

Frank Harold Boyes was born in 1885 in Rushworth, Victoria. His father was Henry Boyes who had another son named William Henry Boyes. Frank and William worked as farmers. Frank worked until till he was 29 and then went to war. Frank was 5 feet and 7 inches high and had brown hair and brown eyes. He was single. His religious denomination was Presbyterian.


Before/during war

 Frank Boyes enlisted on the 14th of September in the 14th Battalion in 1914 and embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 22nd December 1914.The 14th Battalion was formed in Melbourne in early 1914. It saw service at Gallipoli in 1915 and on the Western Front during 1916-18. Frank Boyes war service was at Egypt, Gallipoli and the Western Front. He won medals for 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal. His service number was 419. His brother, William Boyes also went to war at age 35. Frank was a Lance Corporal during the war (a rank higher than Private but the same pay) he got promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.


Frank boyes experience in Gallipoli including letters he wrote to his family-

 They landed in the clothes they were wearing the whole trip to Gallipoli and continued to wear them day and night until the socks became unwearable and then they went out barefoot in boots. The soldiers had to discard their tunics as the weather became hotter and working and living in the trenches got very unhygienic and disgusting. Sweating caused their pants and thick pure woollen shirts to become even worse than filthy. Men were often forced to be naked because their clothing had become so ruined and horrible.

 "We got only sufficient fresh water, in fact, on some days barely enough to drink, so washing garments was out of the question, and so the only alternative was to get down to the beach and wash our garments and ourselves in the brine, which as far as our garments was concerned made little difference." – Frank Boyes letter to his family

 The conditions were horrible, from fly swarms, sickness, smell, no water, scarce food and lice infection. All of this with war still going on around the men. The unsanitary conditions at Gallipoli caused a widespread infestation of body lice amongst the soldiers. Unable to keep either themselves or their clothes clean, it was very difficult to get rid of the lice once they had them.

"There were parasites which caused an abominable itch to which ever part of the skin where they operated," Lt Boyes wrote. "They lived and bred mainly in the seams of the inner garments and as there was no hot water or chemicals available for their control or destruction the field was open for them to multiply and flourish. The best control means available was to wear the clothing inside out and then there were no seams next to the skin for the pest to hide away in and breed. This I did with my flannel shirt, but I simple could not come at wearing my trousers inside out, even though many of the other men did. It simply looked too awful." – Frank Boyes letter to his family


Frank told his family that towards the middle of May they were told the Turks were going to launch a massive attack to drive the Aussies into the sea, so they were on the alert day and night. Franks Boyes was saved by a mate during a Turk attack. ‘ We had orders to hold our fire until the enemy got close, and come close they did. We were blazing away for dear life and one of our three got a bullet through the fleshy part of his neck and we had a job to persuade him to evacuate and leave his rifle and ammo with us.’’

"I was warding him off trying to reload when my mate shot him just as he was lunging down. He fell into the trench on top of me, wounded, but not dead, for when I got clear and stood on his body to continue shooting I felt him clutching at my legs, but when the attack subsided later we found that he had 'died of wounds'.

"The enemy started to enfilade our position with shrapnel and I got a pellet through my left hand and was sent down to the beach and put on a transport where hundreds of wounded and sick men were accommodated under rough and ready conditions.

 "There were only two doctors on board, no nurses, and just a few MC (Australian Medical Corp) orderlies. The ship was a Cunard liner built to carry immigrants from Europe to Canada and the USA and I and three other wounded men were put in a cabin about the size of a bathroom.

 "One of the men was badly shot up and we frequently tried to get a doctor or even an A.M.C. orderly to come and examine him, but to no effect, and we, handicapped as we were, did our best to tend him until he died. It was a day later before we could get his body removed. In the meantime, we had removed ourselves into a corridor.

 "By the time we reached Egypt my wound had become septic and I got into hospital in Cairo just in the nick of time to save an amputation of my hand. Sometime in July I rejoined the battn on Gallipoli and received a great welcome from those of my old cobbers who were still on the job.

"I had not missed any fighting for soon after I left, the 14th had been relieved by the N.Z.s and went to Reserve Gully and started work in earnest digging a gigantic sap from Anzac Cove to the 2nd Outpost which was the extreme left of our front." – Frank Boyes


 Frank Boyes returned to Australia on the fifth of April 1919 and so did William Boyes, his brother in January 1919. He was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette', second Supplement, No. 29890 (2 January 1917); 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 103 (29 June 1917).