Frederick Ansell

Name

Frederick Ansell

Conflict

First World War

Date of Death / Age

18/05/1915
27

Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Sergeant
2584
Hertfordshire Regiment
1st Bn.

Awards

1914 (Mons) Star, British War and Victory Medals

Cemetery/Memorial

LE TOURET MEMORIAL
Panel 47
France

UK Memorials

Stevenage Old Town Memorial
St Nicholas' Church Memorial, Stevenage Old Town
Holy Trinity Church Memorial Roll of Honour, Stevenage Old Town

Pre War

Frederick was born in Stevenage on the 14th March 1887, the son of William and Emma Ansell, of 41, Alleyns Road, Stevenage. On the 3rd October 1904 Fred, now 17years-old, gave up his job as a Baker and travelled to London where he joined the Royal Navy, serving in the Royal Marine Light Infantry. He served a number of ships including HMS Attentive, HMS Sapphire and HMS Hogue. The 1911 Census records Fred as being a member of the crew of HMS Juno, moored of off the coast at Margate, Kent. He remained in the service of the Royal Marines until his discharge on the 10th December 1912.

He re-enlisted in Hertford while living was in Stevenage.

The training provided by the Royal Marines would have made Fred a suitable candidate for the Territorial Army and he soon joined the Hertfordshire Regiment.

Wartime Service

His Regimental number was 2584 and he was killed in action in France having arrived in France on the 6th November 1914 and served continually on the Western Front until his death.

At the time of his death, the 1st Herts were part of the 4th (Guards Brigade) in the 2nd Division. They were extremely proud that, as a Territorial Force Battalion, they were accepted by the regular Guards Battalions and even called themselves the Herts Guards. During the three months before his death, the Battalion was engaged in normal trench warfare routines such as digging and repairing trenches, putting up wire, etc, sometimes in the front line, sometimes in support and occasionally in reserve or at rest in or near a town such as Bethune.

On the 18th May 1915 No.1 Company of the Hertfordshire Regiment supported an attack by the Irish Guards on a farm between Festubert and Richebourg L’Avoue known as Pl4 and Ferme Cour d'Avoué. They had only moved about 200 yards when they were held up by very heavy machine gun and rifle fire from a location known as Adalbert Alley.

The Hertfordshires were working closely with the Irish Guards with part involved in the attack and others helping as stretcher-bearers for the large numbers of Irish Guard casualties. That evening, the Herts relieved the Irish Guards due to the heavy casualties the Irishmen had sustained. The Herts in turn were relieved on the night of the 19th May but in those forty-eight hours had sustained 25 killed and 91 wounded. The Commanding Officer of the Irish Guards sent a letter to the Commanding Officer of the Hertfordshires thanking them for all their assistance.

It is not known at what stage Frederick lost his life. A comrade wrote and told his parents that Fred's last words were, " A comrade wrote to his parents that his last words were "a piece of dirt has hit me on the head". It is unlikely that he was wearing a steel helmet at the time.

It was reported at the time that he was buried between Richebourg & Festubert. However, he has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Le Touret Memorial.

Additional Information

www.stevenageatwar.com

Acknowledgments

Adrian Dunne, David C Baines, Paul Johnson