Service number: 12960 | Rank: Private | Regiment: Norfolk Regiment.
Killed in action, July 1, 1916, in Flanders. Aged 33.
Remembered at THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT FREDERICK …
Frederick was born in Brandon on 10th November 1882 and when old enough to leave school he took up a job as an agricultural labourer in order to support his widowed mother Maria and their family. His mother was a poorly paid fur puller, as was his sister Amy, just to make ends meet. In 1904 he married Alice Maud Edwards who was also working in the rabbit skin trade. They soon started a family and within the next four years three sons were born, but sadly one did not survive. By 1911 they were all living at 12 Mile End, just a few doors away from Frederick’s mother at 9 Mile End, and he was listed as an employee “at manure works”.
By the time war was declared Frederick was away from the manure business and was instead employed as a woodman on the Weeting Estate. He reacted to the outbreak of war by taking himself over to Norwich on 2nd September 1914 and signing on the dotted line to fight for King and Country. He enlisted to fight alongside his Brandon mates in ‘Kitchener’s Army’ and actually ended up having a distinguished army career. On 31st January 1915 he received a promotion to Lance Corporal, which is then followed up on 9th May 1916 with another stripe and promotion to Corporal. The only apparent blot on his Service Record came when he was stationed at Codford on Salisbury Plain and he overstayed his leave by almost a day and was reprimanded by a Major and docked that day’s pay.
Almost two years later and aged 33, he found himself in the thick of the opening salvos on the Somme and an initial report back home to his wife was confusing. His Service Record states that on July 1st he had been wounded in the fighting, and the Thetford & Watton Times ran with this story in its edition dated 15th July, however the following week that newspaper printed extracts of a letter sent to Alice from Sergeant Smith, of the Norfolk Regiment.
“I have to inform you that your husband was killed in the great push. He was a brave man and a true Briton. He was one of the first to volunteer, and now has given his life for his country. The platoon has lost a valuable man, who will be missed.”
Following this news Frederick’s employer at the Weeting Estate, Mr S.J. Adcock, wrote a letter of sympathy to Alice detailing how her husband had an excellent character. In November the Army sent Frederick’s personal effects to her and this equated to a sum total of one pocket book, although she was also sorted with a widow’s pension of 21s 6d a week for herself and their two children.
Frederick had joined up with Frank Mutum and both men served in the same Battalion and both had been killed in the same battle.