Second World War - Lynsted Memorial Project

Frank Robert HORSNAIL (of Conyer)

b. 9th December 1916
d. 9th August 1944. Aged 26

Private, Service Number 5503064
5th Battalion
The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

Catania War Cemetery, Sicily
Killed in Action

Catania War Cemetery, Sicily

Portrait of Frank Robert Horsnail of ConyerBorn on 9 December 1916, Frank was the son of George Frederick, a river lighterman, and Alice Maude (née Smith) Horsnail of Conyer. We also commemorate Frank's younger brother, Jack. The 1939 Register records the family living at 1 Coastguards Cottages, Conyer, where Frank was working in the brickfields.

Frank married Alberta Agnes (née Knell) in April 1942.

Frank's war was served in hard action. During 1942 the 5th Buffs were in the newly raised 78th Division and took part in Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa. During the campaign in Tunisia, where the 78th Division, as part of the British First Army, distinguished itself during the crucial capture of Longstop Hill. The division then fought in the Sicilian Campaign, as part of the British 8th Army.

In Franks last weeks, he took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily. Codenamed Operation Husky, it began on the night of 9–10 July 1943, and ended on 17 August. During this time the Allies took the island of Sicily from the Axis powers (Italy and Germany), beginning in a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign.

The 5th Buffs took part in the capture of Centuripe, finally achieved on 4 August. In the next few days, they crossed the Simeto and Salso rivers and captured Adrano and Bronte. Next came the advance to Randazzo.

On the day that Frank was killed, they started towards Maletto with two companies where they encountered considerable defensive resolve. An evening patrol was sent out by the Buffs who ran into accurate artillery fire. Ten men were lost either killed or wounded.

On 13 September 1943, it was confirmed that Frank was killed in action on 9 August 1943.

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