Photograph of Fred in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: MR4/17/290
(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Fred's family or early life.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Fred joined the Army in mid 1915, most likely during April or May. He enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a Territorial Force unit based in Oldham. Soldiers serving with units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers in around March 1917. Fred's became 376380. We don't know his old number. We believe Fred served as a signaller, responsible for keeping different units of the battalion in contact with each other and with higher headquarters.
We don't believe Fred left the UK before the new service numbers were allocated. Fred served on the Western Front with the 2/10th Battalion. This was sent to France during March 1917, but we don't know if Fred was with it then. The battalion served around Bray during the summer of 1917, before moving north to Ypres in Belgium during late August.
The 2/10th Battalion guarded the North Sea coast at Nieuwpoort whilst the Passchendaele Offensive began around Ypres. They joined this offensive on the 9th October when they attacked Poelcapelle. After this battle they stayed in the Ypres area until February 1918.
In that month the 2/10th Battalion was disbanded. This happened because of a reorganisation of the Army that aimed to have more soldiers in fewer battalions, rather than fewer soldiers in more battalions. Fred was sent to the 1/10th, the 1/7th or the 1/8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. We don't know which. All 3 of these units helped to defeat the German Spring Offensive during March and April 1918. They then took part in the Allied Hundred Days Offensive. This began in August and led to the end of the war on the 11th November.
Fred survived the war. We don't believe he left the Manchester Regiment at any point, but we don't have any details of his service. The rest of his life also remains a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in August 2000.