Frank George Victor Soper

Date of birth: 1897
Place of birth: Southampton, (likely St Denys, portswood)
Service number: 352439, 1207
Rank: gunner
Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion: 47th Siege Battery
Died: 19th December 1916 aged 19
Death location: France and Flanders

Military Service
The military service record of Frank George Victor Soper has not survived. He served as a gunner in the 4th Siege battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. The siege batteries were equipped with heavy howitzers sending high calibre high explosive shells over the line to neutralise enemy artillery.
Frank George victor Soper died on 19th December 1916 and is buried at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban, Somme , France

He was posthumously awarded the Victory medal and the British medal in recognition of his services to his country and is inscribed on the cenotaph at Southampton “lest we forget”.
The British War Medal was awarded for service in World War One. Also called the British Empire campaign medal, it was issued for services between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918. The medal was automatically awarded in the event of death on active service. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Squeak’.

The Victory medal, also called the Inter Allied Victory Medal was awarded to those who received the British War Medal. It was never awarded alone. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Wilfred’.

Life before the war

Frank George Victor Soper was born in 1898 in Southampton, given his age in the 1901 census it is likely that he was born in St Denys Portswood, probably at Priory Road. He was the first son to George James Soper, born 1873 and Selina Russell born 1872 who had married in South Stoneham between April and June 1896 (vol2c p139) and had a total of four children.
The following children of George James and Selina Soper are confirmed from parish records:

  1. Frank George Victor was born in 1897.
  2. Ernest was born in 1900
  3.  Albert was born in 1902
  4.  Alice E was born in 1909.  She married Leonard H Jurd in 1931.

In 1901 the family lived at 84 Priory Road, St Denys, Portswood. Father George was employed as a china and glass packer.
In 1911 the family lived 146 Priory Road, St Denys, Portswood.  It is likely that this is the same house and the numbers changed as more homes were built in the road. Father George Soper was still employed as a china and glass packer for a general stores and son Frank George was at school with part time work as a Bakers errand boy

His mother Selina Soper of 164 Radstock Road, Itchen died aged 58 on 10th August 1930. Probate was read on 11th November. She left £383 8s and 10d to William Cotton a customs watcher. (at present unable to find his connection to the family).
His father George James Soper died aged 74 in 1949.

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