Published By Joan Zorn
NOTE. Believed to be. Based on the listing on the war memorial at Holy Trinity Church, Oswestry this man is not the most probable candidate – see Private 7639 Frank Boylin, 7 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 1 April 1916, Spoilbank Cemetery.
It is possible that the Frank Boylin on the Oswestry Memorial Gates is that of the man born in 1878 in Ellesmere (see also Frank Boylin, Private,7639). Frank was the seventh of the nine children of Thomas and Margaret Boylin. Thomas was a Cemetery Lodge Keeper. The family lived at Cemetery Lodge, Swan Hill, Ellesmere.
In 1891 Frank was a plumber’s apprentice but by 1901 he had enlisted in the Royal Marine Artillery as a gunner and was stationed at Sheerness, Kent on board HMS Sans Pareil. HMS Sans Pareil was launched on 9th May 1887 and served in the Mediterranean in 1895, returning in 1896 to serve as a port guardship at Sheerness. She was later put into reserve before being broken up in April 1907.
In 1911 Frank was still with the RMA serving as a gunner in China and the East Indies.
At the time of his death he was serving in HMS Cyclops II, a base for land defences at Scapa Flow from November 1917. The RMA were specialist artillery troops and part of the security force protecting the area around the anchorage. Frank’s obituary in the Llangollen Advertizer for 8 February 1918 says ‘Gunner Boyling (sic) third son of the late Mr Thomas Boyling, Cemetery House, Ellesmere, lost his life under tragic circumstances during a blizzard in the North Sea on January 12th. The chaplain, in a sympathetic letter to his widow, to whom he had only been married just over a year, stated that his body had been recovered and laid to rest near the graves of many other heroes who like himself had died on duty. Very shortly he would have completed 21 years in the Navy’. Frank had married Harriet Canton (1880, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire) in Fulham in 1917. She was the sister of Frank’s brother-in-law, Lewis Canton (1875, Stackpole).
The date of Frank’s death coincides with the tragic loss of two British destroyers, HMS Narborough and HMS Opal who ran ashore in Scapa Flow in a snowstorm on 12 January 1918. Had Frank been involved in a possible rescue mission?