Private William Francis Armstrong was born in Aldershot, Hampshire in 1879 and enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1893. Joining the Ship's Company of H.M.S. Barrosa in the following year, he went on to serve in the M'wele and Brass River operations of 1895 and in the Benin River operations of 1897, although the former action is not recognised in the usual manner on his replacement Medal. Back in action with the Aurora during the Boxer Rebellion, Armstrong was present at the Defence of Tientsin, the Relief of Pekin and in capture of the Penyang Arsenal. During the Great War, he was a lucky survivor of the Battleship Majestic when she was torpedoed off Cape Helles by the U-21 on 27.5.1915, this being the occasion that heralded his application for two lost Campaign Medals (and a L.S. and G.C. Medal). Armstrong finished the War in the Repair Ship Cyclops III and was finally discharged in 1919.