Service number: 200452 | Rank: Private | Regiment: Norfolk Regiment.
Killed in action, November 2, 1917, in Palestine. Aged 28.
Remembered at JERUSALEM MEMORIAL, Israel.
Enlisted at Norwich.
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT FREDERICK …
Frederick Wicks (Fred) was born in 1889 to Darius and Georgina Wicks of Mundford. By 1901 Fred’s family, including two younger sisters, had moved to London Road, Brandon, and were neighbours of the Lingwood family who owned the large fur factory, also on London Road. Frederick’s father was employed as a domestic groom but in 1906 he passed away. The 1911 Census shows Fred’s widowed mother was working as a laundry worker and 23-year old Fred was living with her in the Avenue and was working as a sawyer at a Brandon timber yard. By the time Fred enlisted into the Army, in July 1915, he had married Alice (Dent?) and it seemed the couple lived at 47 London Road. Perhaps this was his parents’ home?
After Fred enlisted into the army he left Brandon and Alice never saw him again because, according to the Thetford and Watton Times, he did not receive any leave while serving his King and country. Fred was involved in the ‘Third Battle of Gaza’, which was an objective that the 1st/4th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment had tried to take earlier in the year. This time Gaza was taken but the Norfolk Regiment’s contribution was far from effective. They had been tasked with taking some high ground called ‘Gibraltar Crested Rock’ where the Ottoman defenders had dug in. The attack started under cover of darkness but the Norfolks got disoriented in the dust and smoke of the hazy night and eventually only a few men arrived at the destination. Due to a lack of numbers they were unable to take the enemy head-on and were forced to quickly withdraw. Frederick did not withdraw with his comrades.
Alice received an official notification that her husband had been killed in Palestine and a couple of months after this she received a letter from Lance Corporal Isaac Field,
“It is with the deepest regret that I write these few lines to you to inform you that your dear husband was killed on the 3rd. He was a perfect hero, and died doing his duty. Our battalion made an attack on the front line of the Turks’ trenches, and we took them and held them for two days. But on the night of the 3rd we were being relieved, when he was killed by shell fire, so I thought I would write and relieve your anxiety, and close with my deep sympathy.”
The letter conflicts with the information held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that stated he had been killed on the 2nd. Fred was aged 28.