No.202026, Private, Frank MEEKINS
Aged 27

4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly No.5216, Suffolk Regiment
formerly No.2785, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 26th September 1917

Frank Meekins was born on 7th February 1890 in Boyton End (Risbridge Q1-1890 4A:692), baptised in St John the Baptist, Stoke by Clare on 20th June 1892, son of William and Rosanna MEEKINS(née BEVIS).

1891 census...Aged 1, he was at Boyton End, Stoke by Clare with his father William MEEKINS [32] farm servant; his mother Rosanna [31]; brothers William [13] farm servant, Harry [9]and Ernest [6]; sisters Caroline [11] and Mary Ann [4]; grandmother Matilda MEEKINS [60]. All were born in Stoke by Clare.

1901 census...Aged 11 (now recorded as MEEKINGS) he was at Frost's Farm, Boyton End with his parents (father a ploughman); brothers William, Harry and Ernest (farm labourers) and Stanley [1]; sister Margaret [9]. New siblings also born in Stoke by Clare

1911 census...Aged 20,(recorded as MEEKINGS) a farm labourer, he was still at Boyton End with his parents (father now horsekeeper); sister Margaret; brothers Stanley and Herbert [6]. One of the 10 siblings had died

He enlisted in Haverhill.
From his medal index card we know he served first abroad in Balkans/Gallipoli so his service in the 4th battalion must have been later as only the 1st, 5th and 15th battalions served in that theatre. Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" tells us that after sustaining many casualties from a heavy bombardment on the 25th September, shortly after mid-night they took up a line from Glencorse Wood to Fitzclarence Farm. No advance could be made as some of the troops on their left were not ready. The situation became worse, the moon had gone, shelling increased and a thick mist rose. Brigade was asked to permit the 4th advance alone, but this was refused. However at 5.45 am the battalion and one other did advance, the men linked hand in hand so as not to lose touch in the darkness. Clearing the shell holes and ditches they had been holding they then came under an intense barrage which prevented further advance.
Despite this one party did succeed in reaching the Blue Line and capturing 2 machine guns and fifteen prisoners. Another battalion then passed through around mid day, and by the evening of the 27th all objectives had been taken.

CWGC records show 57 killed on 26th, only 9 with known graves.

Frank Meekins is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, panels 40,41, 162,162A

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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