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Caiger, Frederick

Fred Caiger on the memorial

Frederick Charles Caiger first appeared on a census in  1891 census when he was 3 months old.   Father Arthur Caiger, 37, was a Coachman,  (domestic servant) who had been born in Staines, Middlesex.   His wife Sarah was 28.  Their other children were  Ada E 7 and  Henry J. 4 . The family was  living in Sparkford  Somerset, where Sarah and her children had been born.

The 1901 census sees the family still in Sparkford, Somerset. Arthur Caiger was  48 and a Groom His wife Sarah was  38. The listed children were Ada E 17  a Domestic Cook.  Henry J. 14 was a Telegraph Messenger.  Frederick C. was 10,  Mary R. 8,  Alfred G 7, Violet M 5 and  Ernest, 2 had all been born in Sparkford, Somersetshire.

Arthur Caiger  died in in 1910. The 1911 census records that widow, Sarah was working on her own account as a Laundress. She stated that she had given birth to 10 children but that 3 had died.  (This information was crossed out by the Enumerator, but can still be seen on the census form)  Sarah was not a stranger to grief and loss and she was to suffer more when Frederick was to die in 1916. The census shows us they were still living at Sparkford, Somerset, and that some of her children were living with her. Henry John Caiger, 24, was a Coachman (Cab) like his father before him.  Alfred George, 17  was an Ostler.   Alfred Frank, 12. was a scholar.

Frederick Charles had moved on and was living at the Rectory in Hawarden. This was the home of Frank Selwyn Macaulay Bennett, a Clerk in Holy Orders. Also in the household were his wife Ada and their son. His sister Mildred Rachel Bennett who was an Artist was also present.   Frederick Charles Caiger, 20, was one of 4 servants and was employed as a Motor Car Driver.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms Fredeick’s regimental details above and says that his birthplace was Yeovil, Middlesex and his residence was Sparkford, Somerset. He enlisted in Chester. His medal card, also on ‘Ancestry’ details his medals and tells us his first Theatre of War was France and he entered it on the 16th November 1915. The card has the word “Died” written on.

There is an index card for Frederick Caiger in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in Hawarden. (Card F6 Hawarden) The address given is , Hawarden Rectory. His regimental details are confirmed as above. He served, it says 1914 -15  (but we know from his records that he died in July 1916 so that was an error). He was killed in action. The card was signed by  by F.S. Bennett. ( Reverend Bennett)

Frederick Caiger’s Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk  They are not in good condition and much is impossible to read. The papers however, tell us some of his story.

He enlisted and signed his attestation papers on the 19th September 1914. he was 23 years and 8 months old and was a ‘Motor Driver’.

He requested a transfer from the 16th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps. stationed at Denham Bucks, to the Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport Regiment for the purpose of ‘following his trade’. (The transfer seems to have been approved but There doesn’t seem to be any further evidence in his records that this actually happened. He was recorded as being in The King’s Royal Rifle Corps when he died). There is another regimental number on this paper (6330)

He embarked for France on the 16th November 1915. A casualty form records that on the 23rd December  1915 he had been wounded with Shrapnel wounds to his face.   He was back on duty on Boxing Day. He was recorded as suffering from shock and nervous debility in early January 1916. He spent much of April 1916, receiving medical treatment for recurring scabies.

He was  reported missing on the 18th July 1916, but the Army stated on his records that for official purposes, he was assumed missing on or since the 15th July 1916.

It wasn’t until 14th March 1918, that an internal Army Memo from The War Office, actually confirmed positively that he was dead.

The War Office, London, SW1

14th March 1918.

To The Officer in Charge, Rifle Records, Rifle Dept, Winchester.

No. C/330 L/Cpl F.C. CAIGER 16th Kings Royal Rifle Corps

Death officially accepted as having occured on or since 15th July 1916.

The Director of Graves Registration and Enquiries reports that the above named soldier’s grave has been located “Just E. of Cazentin Le Petit. 4 miles N.W. of Comble”.

Will you please inform the next-of-kin accordingly expressing the regret of the Army Council that it must now be definitely accepted that the soldier was killed.   It should be added that his name will be shortly be published in the official casualty lists.

It will not be necessary for any fresh documents to be rendered to the War Office.

“Next of kin Notified 1st February 1918” 

There is correspondence between the army and Sarah Caiger (Frederick’s  Mother and next of Kin) concerning his personal property, his medals and a commemorative plaque and scroll.

Many thanks to Sheila Evison for taking this photograph at Caterpillar valley Cemetery in April 2017


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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