Frank was the youngest of the nine children of Thomas Johnson Neville and his wife Lilian nee Lord who were married at St Paul’s Chiswick, Middlesex on 18 March 1872. Thomas and Lilian returned to Thomas’s birthplace of Dunchurch after their marriage where he was a butcher and farmer. Although Lilian was born in Hoxton Middlesex, her father Richard was also born in Dunchurch.
Frank was baptised in Dunchurch on 25 October 1891, his birth being registered in December Quarter of that year.
In 1901 Frank was aged 9, living with his parents and five older siblings in Dunchurch, but by 1911 he was 19 and had become a teacher in Stamford. This is confirmed by his detailed obituary in the Rugby Advertiser of 1 December 1917. This records that he was educated at Dunchurch School, then at the Lower School in Rugby (now Lawrence Sheriff). He was a member of the Howitzer Battery in Rugby, and “being a well-set up young fellow, was selected as one of the Guard of Honour when King Edward visited the town” in 1909. He left Stamford for a post as assistant master at St Matthews School in Rugby where he took a great interest in the new Scout movement.
Just before war broke out he passed high in a Civil Service examination which enabled him to become a member of the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps (OTC) as Private 1013. He was transferred to the Northampton Regiment as 2nd Lieutenant in 1914, posted to France on 26 July 1915 and was gazetted as Temporary Captain on 4 January 1917. He was involved in heavy fighting at the Somme in July 1916 in which his brother Captain George H Neville was killed and Frank severely wounded. He was invalided home for nine months and had command of a cadet corps during his recovery.
He returned to France about August 1917 and went through a lot of heavy fighting. He died from a bullet wound in the abdomen on 24 November 1917 and is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery near Poperinghe to the west of Ypres. Although this area was outside the front held by the Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the war, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions in July 1917. These were called by the troops with typical dry humour Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandagem. 3309 casualties are buried at Dozinghem, Frank’s grave is no XIII.E9 in the section to the extreme left in front of the Stone of Remembrance.
He received the Victory and British War medals and the 1915 Star. He is commemorated on the Old Laurentian Roll of Honour and Dunchurch War memorial as well as Rugby’s Memorial Gates.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM