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Norfolk soldier’s poignant personal letters from the frontline

PUBLISHED: 17:37 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:34 11 November 2018

Pte Frank Charles Keyzor died in battle on October 24 in France. Picture: Julie Perry

Pte Frank Charles Keyzor died in battle on October 24 in France. Picture: Julie Perry

Julie Perry

The family of a Great Yarmouth soldier killed in the final days of the First World War have shared poignant personal items to mark the centenary of the conflict.

In one heartbreaking letter sent to his sister just days before he was killed Pte Frank Charles Keyzor said he was enjoying some home comforts after going “over the top” seven times in a week.

He told her his company were in “fine billets” which were “just like being at home” during a break from “pushing Jerry back.”

The letter is dated October 20, 1918.

He died in a military hospital four days later, aged 21.

A letter from Frank Keyzor to  his sister. Picture: Julie PerryA letter from Frank Keyzor to his sister. Picture: Julie Perry

MORE: Tragic story of Norfolk couple killed at home in bed by German battleships

The material is being shared by Julie Perry, of Costessey, in tribute to her great uncle who was awarded the military medal.

His work carrying messages across treacherous terrain under heavy shelling ultimately gave the allies an advantage and saved many lives, Miss Perry said, and deserved to be known.

Frank Keyzor was born in Belton in 1897 to parents Henry Keyzor and Alice Elizabeth Cooper Brown and they lived in Bradwell and Gorleston.

He had five siblings, a sister called Alice and brothers Harry James, David John, John Edward, and Miss Perry’s grandfather Edward Alfred.

Frank Keyzor is buried in Delsaux Farm in France. His name was also added to his mothers headstone in Gorleston Old Cemetery. Picture: Julie PerryFrank Keyzor is buried in Delsaux Farm in France. His name was also added to his mothers headstone in Gorleston Old Cemetery. Picture: Julie Perry

Frank signed up in Great Yarmouth in 1914 and was a member of the 1st Battalion in the Lincolnshire regiment serving firstly in Dardanelles and also in Egypt.

When he died he had been serving in France for 18 months.

He won the military medal on March 21 1918 and received his ribbon on April 21, according to his diary entry which also makes mention of times when he was gassed or shelled in the trenches.

He died from injuries sustained during the Battle of the River Selle, 21 days before the end of the war.

Pte Frank Keyzor's award of a military medal made the local press. Picture: Julie PerryPte Frank Keyzor's award of a military medal made the local press. Picture: Julie Perry

He is buried in Delsaux Farm in France.

Frank is also added to his mother’s headstone in Gorleston old Cemetery.

Miss Perry said she wanted to share her ancestor’s story to mark 100 years since he died.

She said: “It is coming up to the centenary and he did such a lot of good and saved a lot of lives and to die so near the end of the war was tragic.”

A page from Frank Keyzor's diary in which he notes he was awarded the military medal. Picture: Julie PerryA page from Frank Keyzor's diary in which he notes he was awarded the military medal. Picture: Julie Perry

As well as the letter to his sister there is another to his mother earlier in the war.

Miss Perry, a home care assistant, said three of his medals had been sold at auction for £550 and that she was trying to contact the buyer through the auction house in the hope that she could see them.

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