In Flanders Fields….. Frederick Townley

Frederick TOWNLEY

Geddington Roll of Honour 1914-18

Picture of Frederick Townley

Frederick Townley

Rank: Private
Service No: G/25267
Regiment/Service: The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) – 1st Battalion
Date of Death: 14/04/1918 – Killed in action, aged 19
Memorial: Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium – Panel 1 and 2.
War Office Information: Son of Ruth Townley, of Wood Street, Geddington, Kettering, Northants, and the late Samuel Lee Townley.

Personal Information

Frederick was born in late  1898 in Geddington, the younger of Samuel and Ruth’s sons. He was baptised at St Mary Magdalene on New Year’s Day 1899.

From an early age the evidence would suggest that Frederick was full of life and not one to be constrained by rules. His name appears (amongst many others of his friends) several times in the school punishment book for being ‘idle and disorderly’ and for ‘stonethrowing at playtime’. The headteacher ‘Tuggy’ Wilkins could not have known then what a brave and honourable boy he had in his school.

At the end of his school days he worked in the offices of the ‘Kettering Leader’ and ‘Telegraph’.

He was not eligible to enlist because he was too young, but that did not deter Frederick who went to enlist at the Kettering station on 18 Oct 1915 to the Royal Field Artillery.  Three weeks later on 9th November 1915 he was discharged when his true age came to light. When he rejoined it was to the 1st Battalion, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment.

His military record shows that ‘death was assumed’ on 14th April 1918, but his parents did not know he was missing until the end of May 1918. He has no known grave, but is remembered at Ploegsteert. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War medal posthumously.

1901 Census: Wood Road [sic], Geddington
Samuel Townley (father); Aged 37; carpenter; b. Geddington
Ruth Townley (mother); Aged 37; b. Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire
Charles Townley; Aged 6; b. Geddington
Mabel (Isobel)Townley (sister); Aged 5; b. Geddington
Frederick Townley (brother); Aged 2; b. Geddington
Dinah Townley (grandmother); Aged 83; b. Geddington

1911 Census: Wood Street, Geddington
Sidney Townley (father); Aged 47; estate carpenter – married 17 years
Ruth Townley (mother); Aged 47 – 3 children (all living)
Charles Townley; Aged 16; farm labourer
Isobel Townley (sister); Aged 15
Fred Townley (brother); Aged 12