Frederick Charles Eighteen
Service Number: 1815
Date of Birth: 1897
Regiment: A Coy, 1/5th Suffolk Regiment
Date of Death: 10 Mar 1916
Age at death: 19
Cemetery / Memorial: Hadleigh Cemetery
Grave / Reference: 28-6
Relatives: Son of James and Amelia R Eighteen
Address: 10 Benton Street, Hadleigh
Frederick was born in Hadleigh in 1897. The 1911 Census report him living at home with his mother, Amelia and siblings, Alfred (16), Edward (9) and Jessie(7) at 19 Benton Street, Hadleigh. His older siblings; William, Harry, Florence and James had all left home by then. As a young man he was employed on the 'rope walk' at Brett Works on Pound Lane. We are not exactly sure when he enlisted into the army, but it seems like many other young men from Hadleigh, Frederick joined the local territorial battalion, the 5th Battalion the Suffolk Regiment and if we assume that Frederick had joined the battalion before war broke out then we know that he would have been mobilised on the night of the 4th/5th August 1914.
He was one of five brothers who served during the great war.
Once mobilised the 1st/5th Suffolks spent a number of months carrying out home service tasks. At that time territorial units were liable for home service only and were not required to deploy overseas. However, when it became apparent that more troops would be needed for overseas service, the men of the battalion were asked to volunteer. After giving this some serious thought, 72% of the men volunteered and the battalion was redesigned 1st/5th Suffolk Regiment. Those who opted to stay on home service duties only, became the 2nd/5th Suffolks.
The 1st/5th Suffolks completed their training and preparation and were re-equipped for service in the eastern theatre. They embarked along with the rest of 163 Brigade and the 54 Eastern Division at the end of July from Liverpool bound for Gallipoli. They arrived and went ashore at Suvla Bay on 10th August 1915 and were quickly moved forward and by midday on the 12th were manning the forward trenches on the Anafarta Plain. At 4pm they were ordered forward as part of a 163 Brigade operation to clear the Plain of snipers in preparation for a much larger Divisional operation that was planned for the following day. The battalion was on the left of the brigade line and 'A' Company made up of Hadleigh men were in the first wave. There was at least 75 Hadleigh men involved and this was a true baptism of fire. They were told it would be a straight forward advance to mop up the odd sniper, but in reality they faced a determined and ruthless enemy. The enemies intimate knowledge of the ground was key. They sniped the Suffolks who could not see the firing points and even if they could, they had no artillery support to combat the snipers. In addition, the Turks made best use of their own artillery which ultimately halted the Brigades advance. The Suffolks fell back to a shallow river bed / ditch where they formed the new front line. A few days later they were relieved and returned to the reserve trenches where they discovered that the attack had cost them dearly; 11 Officers and 178 Other Ranks were killed, wounded or missing. Although official records suggest that many of the Suffolks went missing on or after the 21st Aug, we now believe that they were actually lost during the advance on the 12th.
Despite his physical injury his eventual cause of death was dysentery. His body was returned to Hadleigh for burial and on Wednesday 15 March 1916, Private 1815 Frederick Charles Eighteen was given a military funeral. The newspaper reported: “In the absence of a gun carriage, the coffin, covered with the Union Jack, was conveyed from the house in Benton Street to the church and from thence to the cemetery.
A few days later they were relieved and returned to the reserve trenches where they discovered that the attack had cost them dearly; 11 Officers and 178 Other Ranks were killed, wounded or missing. Although official records suggest that many of the Suffolks went missing on or after the 21st Aug, we now believe that they were actually lost during the advance on the 12th. Frederick would have been involved in the 12 August battle.
An entry in the 1/5th Suffolks casualty book states that Frederick was listed as wounded on 14 August 1915 with a gun shot wound (GSW) to the right leg. He was evacuated to hospital in Malta and eventually back to England. In March 1916 he was in the Brand Lodge Red Cross Hospital in the village of Colwall, amid the Malvern Hills of Herefordshire and it was here he died, aged 19.
A detachment of the Royal Field Artillery billeted here attended the obsequies, and the funeral cortege was met at the entrance to the churchyard by the clergy and choir boys, who led the way to the Church Porch and through it and up the nave. At the graveside the ‘Last Post’ was sounded. Among the mourners were Mrs Amelia Eighteen (mother), and Privates James and Alfred Eighteen (brothers). Two other soldier brothers, Lieutenant William Eighteen and Private Harry Eighteen are on active service overseas. The funeral attracted a good deal of attention, and tokens of respect and sympathy were shown by residents in the streets through which the procession passed.”
Frederick's older brother Lieutenant William James Eighteen also served during the great war with the Oxford and Bucks Regiment. He survived the war and was a member of the war memorial naming committee. He also became the Hadleigh Cemetery Superintendent and lived in house at the gate – Cemetery Lodge.