Fred Coleman was listed in the Absent Voter Records for Abbots Langley in Autumn 1918 and Spring 1919. In fact he was initially identified from the Absent Voter Records and was not recorded elsewhere in the Abbots Langley Parish records. In the Absent Voter Records Harold was listed serving aboard HMS “Champion”, and his address was given as 12 Nash Mills
Fred was born on 17th April 1884 at Abbots Langley. He was one of eight children born to William and Sarah Coleman. His brother Percy also served in the Great War. In the 1901 Census the family lived at Nash Mills and William worked as a Mill Wright. However by this time Fred had left the family home and had joined the Navy. When he enlisted it was noted in his naval Record that he worked as a Gardener.
The UK Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services recorded that from 21st March 1898 Fred served aboard HMS “St Vincent”, a shore establishment. His Navy record noted that he served on several ships, and in the 1911 Census he was recorded serving on HMS “Formidable” at Gillingham.
Fred was severely wounded on board HMS “Euryalus” during action in the Dardenelles in April 1915. HMS “Euryalus” had been re-commissioned at the start of the War. The cruiser took aboard three companies of the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, at nightfall on 24th April 1915 off the coast of Gallipoli at Cape Helles. At 5.50am on 25th April boats from the “Euryalus” took the Fusiliers ashore at “W” Beach in the face of Turkish gunfire. The battalion casualties were 361 officers and men, whilst 63 of 80 ratings from the “Euryalus” manning the boats were killed or wounded. It is believed that Fred Coleman was wounded in this action.
Fred recovered from his wounds and returned to the Navy. In the Absent Voter records he was listed serving aboard the destroyer HMS “Champion”.
Fred survived the War, however his younger brother, Percy Coleman, was killed in action at the Battle of Pilkem Ridge, north of Ypres, on 31st July 1917 whilst serving with the 12th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. His brother-in-law Nicholas Hayden, who had married his sister Alice in 1915, survived the War.