Proffitt, Frederick

I found this soldier in the book “Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1918 Royal Welsh Fusiliers Volume 28”

8th Bn. PROFFITT, Frederick. Born St. Paul’s Stockport. Enlisted Shotton, Flintshire 19774 Pte Died of Wounds Mesopotamia 29th April 1916.

Frederick appears on the 1881 census, the son of Thomas & Elizabeth, Proffitt, nee Henshall, although I believe that the enumerator had written Elizabeth’s name down wrongly, as it should have read Isabella.   Thomas Proffitt and Isabella Henshall had been married at St Peter’s Church, Prestbury, Cheshire (Cheshire East          1074/22/353) in 1875. Living at 3, Baker Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, head of the household, Thomas, 24 and Eliza, 27 were both Silk Weavers. Son Frederick, 5 and daughter Emma was 2 both scholars. On Ancestry, “Henshall” had been added by someone for his surname.

1891 sees the family living at 4, Spitalfields, Macclesfield, Cheshire and on this census, the names seem to be correct.   Thomas Proffitt, 34 and Isabella, 35 were still both Silk Weavers as was son Frederick, 15. Daughter Emily 12 and son Ernest, 5 were scholars, while son Thomas, 2 made up the family.   Also living there as visitors, was a family of Kennedys, George, a Silk Weaver, & Mary E. Kennedy, 30 and 29 respectively, sons George W., 8, and James, 2 with daughters Annie, 6 and Florence 4.

Frederick had married Eliza Gee in St. Michael’s Church, Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1900 (Cheshire East 1056/7/263) and by 1901 had set up home at with Eliza at 78, Daybrook St., Macclesfield, Cheshire.   Frederick was 26 and a Silk Weaver, Eliza was 26 and her occupation was Drawing Tentery? Spun Silk.   Any help with this very much appreciated.

In the 1911 census I see him living at 52 Marsland Street, in the Church Army Labour House, Stockport, Cheshire. I am thinking that this may have been a Salvation Army establishment, perhaps.   He is shown as – PROFFITT, Frederick Married M 36 1875 Silk Weaver and Twister born Macclesfield Cheshire.

The 1911 census sees Eliza, 36, married 11 years, but no children born to her, living away from Frederick at 19, Green Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, as a lodger.   Her occupation was a Silk Sprieder (sic). She was living with a John & Mary Booth, both born in Macclesfield, John was a Silk Weaver.

I was looking on Ancestry when I saw his name mentioned in the Family Tree of Stephen Davies, so asked if he could help.   I have been in touch with Steve about another soldier, curiously enough and he was very helpful then.

May 25, 2015

Hi Mavis
This is a strange one… Frederick Proffitt was his real name. His mother was Isabella Henshall (not Henshaw), but I think he probably ‘adapted’ her maiden name when he enlisted…
He had originally joined the volunteer militia, serving with the East Lancashire Regiment and subsequently enlisted with the Army Service Corps in 1897 when he was eighteen.
Having reviewed his original service record, it appears that he was far from the model professional soldier… having deserted on multiple occasions… This may well have had an influence on his use of an alias.
He also moved around a fair bit… from Macclesfield he popped-up in Burnley, Lancs, then to Stockport. I can’t really shed any light on his connections with Shotton at present but I’ll certainly look into it.

best regards

He did enlist in Burnley into the Army Service Corps on the 7th August 1897, and did state that he was in the 3rd East Lancs. Regt.,which he was still serving.   His regimental number was 13396 and he was 18 years, 1 month old. For the next 2 years he was as Steve said in and out of trouble, mutable times and did , looking at his papers at least 105 days in prison after his convictions mostly for disobedience and desertion etc. He had his sister Emily down as his next-of-kin, she was living at 19, Newgate St., Macclesfield. He was described as 5 feet 3 and 1/2 inches,, weighed 119 lbs.   His chest measurements were 33 inches, with a range of 2 inches.   His complexion was fresh, eyes and hair brown.   He was C. of E. and had a scar on the back of his right elbow.

I cannot find his Attestation Papers for his enlistment in 1915 in Shotton, but will keep on looking, but they could be part of the “Burnt Papers” or were destroyed during the bombing of World War 2.

I can only surmise that Frederick came to the area for work after the 1911 census and there was work at Courtaulds, Flint, so could have come to live in Shotton, or he could have decided to work at John Summer’s & Sons, Hawarden Bridge Ironworks.   I am going to check on dates for Courtlaulds.

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 about Frederick Proffitt confirms the regimental details above and tell us that his first Theatre of War was the Balkans and he entered it on the 1st October 1915.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 about Frederick Proffitt tells us that his place of birth was St. Paul’s, Stockport and he enlisted in Shotton.

Frederick Proffitt in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that his alias was Frederick Henshall and his widow, Mrs. Eliza Proffitt was the sole Legatee.

He MUST have been in Shotton for him to enlist there, so should be remembered on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton Cenotaph, as he has as much right, as others who’s name was put forward and had only a tenuous link to the area, as they too came after the 1911 census.

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