Frederick ‘Fred’ Williams was born in Caergwrle in 1891 to Daniel & Ruth Williams of Lower Street Caergwrle. He was one of 9 children born to the couple, only 7 of whom survived. Daniel & Ruth (Nee Davies) were natives of Caergwrle, marrying in St Cynfarch’s Church, Hope in 1879.
When we first see Fred on the Census it is in 1901. He is 10 years old and living with his parents and 4 of his brothers in Lower Street, Caergwrle. His father is a Sawyer, and his 2 elder brothers are also in employment – one is a coalminer and the other a farm labourer. Daniel & Ruth speak both English and Welsh, but the children only speak English.
In 1911 Fred, 20, is still living with his parents, along with 5 of his brothers who are aged between 14 and 30 and all are single. They still live in Lower Street, though Daniel has declared his address as Derby Road, though the ones living either side of him still declare ‘Lower Street’. The street is known today as Derby Road. The boys have a variety of jobs – Daniel, their father, is now 64 and unemployed; Butcher, Painter, Coal Miner (waggoner), Grocer’s assistant and Newsboy are the jobs of his brothers, with Fred listed as ‘Bottler in Brewery’. My presumption is he worked at the Lassell & Sharman Brewery on Derby Road (a.k.a. Lower Street), which was only yards from his home.
From records on Ancestry.co.uk, we can see that Fred enlisted in Caergwrle into The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment. Sadly, there are no images of any of the documentation relating to this, but we do know he was a Private – Regimental Number 242296.
From the site wartimememories.com, we can see the following information about Fred’s Regiment:
“12th (Service) Battalion, The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) was raised at Seaforth 1n tSeptember 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army, and joined 20th (Light) Division as Army Troops. After training close to home with little equipment, they moved to Aldershot. In January 1915 the 12th Kings Liverpool joined 61st Brigade, still with 20th (Light) Division. In February 1915 they Division moved to Guildford, then to Salisbury Plain in April for final training and proceeded to France on the 27th of July 1915, landing at Boulogne, the division concentrating in the Saint-Omer area. They moved to the Fleurbaix area for trench familiarisation. In 1916 they were in action at the The Battle of Mount Sorrel, in which the Division, along with the Canadians, recaptured the heights. They were in action on the Somme in The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy. In 1917 they were in action during The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood and The Cambrai Operations. In 1918 they fought in The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings and The Battle of Rosieres engaging in heavy fighting in each battle, on the 20th of April they were withdrawn to the area south west of Amiensand received many new drafts of men during the summer. They returned to action at The Battle of the Selle and fought in The Battle of Valenciennes, The Battle of the Sambr and the passage of the Grand Honelle. At the Armitice the Division was in the area between Bavay and Maubeuge and later that month the units moved to the Toutencourt-Marieux area. Demobilistion of the Division began in January 1919 and was complete by the end of May.”
Fred died on 26th August 1918* from wounds received, and is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension – Grave IV.D.35. This cemetery was used by 42nd Casualty Clearing Station at Aubigny, and it is not unreasonable to assume this is where Fred died, as in the newspaper report in the Liverpool Daily Post of 9th September 1918 it states that he was ‘reported as severely wounded’. The whole report reads “Private Fred Williams of Lower Street, Caergwrle who was reported severely wounded some time ago, has since died. The deceased soldier was formerly employed at Shotton Ironworks. He was a member of the Wesleyan Church, and was much respected.”
On the grave registration document, the next of kin is named as Mr L Williams – Fred’s brother, Llewelyn.
Fred received the Victory Medal & the British War Medal. He was 28 years old.
*On Ancestry & FMP there has been a transcription error listing Fred’s death as being on 28th June 1918. My dates are taken from the CWGC site where you can view the exact document.