Private R/9116 Frederick James Williams

Williams Frederick 96 419x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 25th September 1915, age 19.
Commemorated on Panel 101 and 102 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 2nd Brigade of 1st Division.

Son of Frederick and Louisa Williams, of 13, Sheepwash Lane, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: West Bromwich, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

Cannot find Medal Index Card.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Salem Chapel, and St. Peter's, Greets Green memorials.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on Commonwealth War Graves site.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/737345/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
126 Lodge Lane, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Frederick Williams (28, Iron Founder born Oldbury), his wife Louisa (28, Dressmaker - on own account, born Oldbury), and their son: Frederick James (4, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
Chamberlain Terrace, Sheepwash Lane, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Frederick Williams (38, Moulder, born Oldbury), his wife Louisa (38, born Oldbury), and their 4 surviving children of 5: Frederick James (14, Baker's Deliverer, born West Bromwich), Leonard Maurice (7, born West Bromwich), Ernest Clifford T. (4, born West Bromwich), and Beatrice Rossanna May (10 months, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

It has not been possible to trace Fred Williams' Medal Index Card.

From 'The Fallen of Oldbury, Langley and Warley 1914 - 1918'
Rifleman Williams was the son of Frederick and Louisa Williams of Great Bridge, Tipton. His parents had been associated with the Tabernacle Church and Sunday School in Oldbury before moving to West Bromwich. He tried to enlist twice previously before being accepted in January 1915, and going to France in May. He was killed in the forward line at Loos, having volunteered as a bomb-thrower, during the 'great push' of 25th September. The assault followed the release of gas and smoke by the British, some of which blew back into their own trenches. In poor visibility the British took heavy casualties, especially at the wire, which was largely uncut by the preliminary bombardment.

Action resulting in his death

Fred was in the 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifles, part of 1st Division. They had problems with gas in their sector which was released but did not drift towards the enemy, also gas from the 15th Division drifted across their front. Initially they were held up, but by 3.50pm had cleared the Germans from Lone Tree, the last piece of good news on the day.

98 men of the 2nd KRRC died on 25th September. The vast majority, including Frederick Williams, have no known grave and are commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner. This includes Private George Peachment who won the VC giving assistance to his wounded Captain, but losing his own life in that act of bravery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 17th July 1915
Directly Fred Williams of Sheepwash Lane, Great Bridge, reached the age qualification, he offered himself and was twice unsuccessful. At last at the third attempt, he succeeded in joining the King's Royal Rifles. He is now somewhere in France, and has had his first spell of trench fighting, and writes that he is proud he has been sent out, and that he feels now that he is indeed serving his country. He wonders whether several of his mates that he names have joined yet, and, if not, how they will feel when the war is over and he and the others come back, proud to have done their share.

Dudley Herald 16th October 1915.
To the West Bromwich Roll of Honour must be added the name of Rifleman Fred J. Williams, eldest grandson of Mr. J. Shenton, Edison Works, Great Bridge, whose parents have received the news that he was killed in action during the big advance on September 25th. Only nineteen years of age, he was rejected twice before being finally passed for the King's Royal Rifles in January, and in May he went out to France. His letters spoke hopefully of his work, and he was sincere in his desire to do his part manfully, and he had gained the esteem and regard of his officers and chums by his cheerfulness and willingness, only a few weeks ago he volunteered as a bomb-thrower.
His death cuts short a promising career and is deeply deplored among all who knew him, at no place more than Salem Church, where he was a very earnest and devout worker, popular and respected by everyone with whom he was brought into contact. In his life he gave his best, by his death he gave the highest.

Wednesbury Borough News 30th October 1915
A memorial service was held on Sunday evening in the Salem Congregational Church, Great Bridge, in memory of the late Fred J. Williams, of the King's Royal Rifles, who fell in action on September 25th during the great advance. The deceased's parents live in Sheepwash Lane. The young hero - he was barely 20 - was twice rejected, but was accepted in January last. He had been a Sunday School scholar and teacher at the Salem Church, and an ardent early Sunday morning Adult School worker. The Rev. William Fry (the pastor) gave a special discourse on the war, and touched on the bravery of the deceased young soldier. The choir rendered the special anthem "Blest are the departed." The Great Bridge Adult School was well represented at the service by its members. The Secretary (Mr. T. W. Blackham) sent an apology for non-attendance owing to the National Council meetings.