Frank Joyce was born in 1894, the second son and third child of Rev. Henry M. Joyce, vicar of Nicholforest, Cumbria, and his wife Isabella. He attended St John’s School in Leatherhead, and matriculated at Durham University at Michaelmas 1910, joining Hatfield Hall. In 1912 he won the Barry (Divinity) scholarship. He captained his college’s football team, was very active in its cricket and rugby teams, and also played as a forward for the Durham Colleges football team, (serving also as its secretary). He was senior man in his college in 1912, and graduated in Easter 1913 with 2nd Class Honours in Theology.
He was preparing to enter a career in the Church when war broke out in 1914, but he enlisted as a private in the 4th Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, and was then made a temporary second lieutenant on 6 February 1915. He was transferred from a reserve battalion to the Border Regiment, 7th (Service) Battalion, on 12 May 1916. He was wounded at Fricourt on 3 July 1916 in an attack on Bottom Wood, during the early stages of the Battle of the Somme. On 12 November of that year he was promoted to temporary lieutenant, and in February 1917 he was temporarily promoted to acting captain to cover for the Company Commander, then away on sick leave. He is reported to have been recommended for a permanent commission. Lieutenant Frank Joyce was killed on 29 May 1917. The exact circumstances of his death are not known, but the battalion’s war diary (WO 95/2008/1) reports they experienced that day “considerable hostile activity in artillery fire on support & communication trenches”, and a patrol clashed with a German patrol in no man’s land and received some machine-gun fire. Joyce is buried at Brown’s Copse Cemetery, Roeux. His sacrifice is also commemorated on the war memorial at St Nicholas’ Church, Nicholforest, and on a plaque in Hatfield College chapel in Durham