Photograph of Fred in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: Acc3345
(L to R) Military Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about Fred's early life or family, except that he grew up in Oldham, Lancashire.
The First World War broke out in August 1914. We don't know anything about Fred's service until he joined the Manchester Regiment. He was given the service number 59628, which tells us that this happened in around November or December 1917. We don't know how long he had been a soldier before this, but he had not served overseas.
We can't be sure which battalion Fred joined at first. By the autumn of 1918 he was serving with the 1/8th Battalion. They were taking part in the Allied Hundred Days Offensive which had begun in early August. It was extremely successful and was driving the Germans back. By this time Fred had been promoted to Corporal.
On the 20th October the 1/8th Battalion was taking part in the Battle of the Selle. They were attempting to cross this river around the village of Briastre. As a result of his bravery during this fighting Fred was awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette of the 23rd July 1919. This is his citation:
For gallantry on 20.10.18 near BRIASTRE. When it was found that the flank of his Company was exposed and it was necessary to obtain information as to the whereabouts of the enemy, he volunteered several times to take patrols forward. Although he encountered several parties of the enemy he succeeded in obtaining the information required, capturing a number of the enemy during the performance of his duty. He showed great courage and coolness throughout the operations and set a fine example to all his men.
After crossing the Selle, the 1/8th Battalion continued to advance until the end of the war on the 11th November.
After he left the Army Fred returned to Oldham, but we know very little about the rest of his life.
He was a keen musician, and by 1962 he was the Conductor of the Oldham Industrial Co-Operative Society Choral Society. At this time he had 'for many years been actively connected with the amateur musical world in Oldham'. The Society had 52,000 members in 1962.
Fred's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in October 2004.