Born in 1881, in Stanstead Abbotts, to parents William and Mary Ann, he had one brother and five sisters. In 1891 they were living in Burford Place, Hoddesdon and by 1901 had moved to Amwell Street, Hoddesdon. The 1911 census shows them living in Salisbury Road, Rye Park, Hoddesdon, his father was a house painter and Frederick was a nurseryman. Later living in 51 Burford Street, Hoddesdon.
Frederick joined the 1st Hertfordshire Battalion of the Territorials on 7th April 1908 for 4 years when aged 26, his service number was 871, he re-engaged on 16th November 1911 when he was 30. At the Territorial camp in the summer of 1914 the entire battalion were ‘embodied’ for war service and they were moved to Bury St Edmunds for training.