Lieutenant Frank Gale Berrill was one of that rather large number of Oundle boys whose fathers had died before the War. Frank’s father had been a military man, rising to the rank of Major in the Queen’s Regiment.
Though born in Streatham in London, on the last day of 1896, Frank was brought up at Pytchly Manor near Kettering. He was sent to a prep school in Cromer and then on to Oundle and Sydney House in September 1910. He was a School Prefect in his last year and Head of House in his last term, Michaelmas 1915, when he also played for the XV. He was also Captain of the gymnasium and OTC platoon commander for Sidney, with the rank of sergeant.
In the Lent term of 1915, he spoke up in favour of Belgium in an important school debate about Germany’s invasion of that country in 1914. “Is the gentleman opposite me so dulled to all feelings of common decency,” he wondered, “that he can gaze upon the spectacle of devastated Belgium without a pang?” In another debate he led for the opposition on the motion that the British Press should not be allowed to lead public opinion.
Frank Berrill also had a good bass voice and sang several solos in Sidney’s House concert in July 1915.
Leaving Oundle in December of that year, he then joined the Inns of Court OTC in London and trained at Artillery Schools in Exeter and Larkhill, before receiving his commission in the Royal Field Artillery in October 1916. He was sent out to the Lens area of northern France, serving for nearly a year before being invalided homer in the winter of 1917-18 with gas poisoning. In June 1918, he joined a battery near Arras, and on 28th September he was mortally wounded near Bailleul and died on the way to a Casualty Clearing Station.
Aged just 21, he was buried in Duisans British Cemetery. His Brigade Commander spoke very highly of his keenness and conscientiousness in all his work.