FREDERICK JAMES WORMLEIGHTON 1886 – 09/08/1915
Frederick was born in Rugby, Warwickshire in 1886, his birth was registered in Rugby District in the September quarter 1886 reference 6d 524. He was baptised at St. Andrew Parish church, Rugby on 10/09/1886.
His parents were Thomas Wormleighton and Sarah J Norton, Thomas was born in Guilsborough and Sarah in Crick, both in Northamptonshire. In 1891 the census shows that Frederick is living with his parents at 27, James Street, Rugby, two doors away from The Seven Stars Public House with 2 brothers, Samuel and Thomas and 3 sisters, Emily, Eva and Sarah.
Father Thomas is a Cab Driver.
Fred, as he was known attended Murray School.
By 1901 the family had moved to 34, Worcester Street, with Thomas shown as Groom/ Cab Driver and another sister, Sarah has been born. His eldest brother, Samuel is working as a Postman.
In the 1911 census, Frederick is in the employment of the 9th Viscount Boyne, being employed as an ‘Odd Man’, which probably means Odd Job Man. He is living in The Stables at Burmaton Hall, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire. He was by trade a carpenter.
He was a sportsman playing as a forward for Rugby Reserves, and occasionally filled a vacancy in the first team. I football circles he was known as ‘Sam’.
On 20th August 1914 Frederick joined up as 41249 Sapper with the 63rd Field Company of the Royal Engineers. His service record has not survived. The Company was formed as a result of the New Division Army Order 324 issued on 21/8/1914 and became part of the 9th (Scottish) Division.
Initial training commenced in September 1914 at Bordon, Hampshire with the object of the Division being ready for war by May 1915. It served throughout the duration of the War and was considered as one of the best fighting formations.
In April 1915 he paid a visit to Rugby to see his family and friends prior to his departure to France.
The Division crossed over to France between the 9th and 12th May 1915. It saw action in the Battle of Loos, where the first casualties were suffered. During the war a total of 52, 055 Officers and Men from the Division were killed or wounded.
Sir John French’s Second Ypres Despatch reported that immediately prior to the arrival of the 9th Division, ‘the Germans had made a flagrant defiance of the Hague Convention. They had produced a gas so virulent and poisonous that any human being brought into contact with it was at first paralysed and then met a lingering and agonising death’.
During the first 8 days of May 1915, all German attacks were preceded by release of the gas.
The 12th of May passed uneventfully except for very heavy bursts of shellfire against the right armFrom the closing May days of the Battles of Ypres and Festubert, until the September opening of the Battle of Loos and the French attacks in Champagne, there was no general change in the situation on the Western Front. It was a period of static warfare, where the army suffered average losses of 300 men a day from sniping and shellfire, while they continued to gradually improve and consolidate the trenches. Both sides increased the tempo of underground mine warfare, which was feared greatly by the infantry in the front positions. At the request of French Commander-in-Chief Joffre, on 7-8 June 1915, the British Second Army extended its left to Boesinghe, thus placing it for the first time in complete occupation of the Ypres salient. Late in May, the First Army also extended, going southwards 5 miles from Cuinchy towards Lens. During August a Third Army was formed, taking over a 15-mile front from Curlu to Hébuterne, on the Somme. Further discussions about Allied dispositions and strategy took place at the 1st Inter-Allied Military Conference on 7 July 1915. of the Division.
In a joint letter to Mrs Wormleighton of Newbold Road Post Office, Sappers L Snook and A Burchill, of The Royal Engineers stated that her son and their comrade, Frederick James Wormleighton, met with his death at the hands of a German sniper on 10 th August in the performance of his duty. ‘We all regret his death, and extend to you our sympathy and bereavement’.
He was respected by everybody in the Company, more particularly by his chums. He was always ready to extend a willing hand to anybody, from the lowest to the highest in the Company. We buried him this afternoon with full religious rites in a little military cemetery a few miles behind the firing line, and have subscribed towards a wreath, which will be placed upon his grave later in the week’.
The cap badge worn by the deceased was enclosed in the letter.
Fred was buried in the Le Touret Military Cemetery Richebourg-L’Avoue, reference 11c.27.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM