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201999-lance-corporal-frederick-james-sharrockFrederick James Sharrock was born in Preston in the December quarter of 1893 to railwayman Thomas Sharrock and Sarah Ann Matthews. Thomas and Sarah Ann married in Preston in 1889 and as well as Frederick they went on to have another five children, four of whom survived; Agnes Ellen (1891-1891), John (1892), Thomas Consort (1897), Agnes Ann (1899) and Ellen (1902).

Two years before Fred was born his parents lived at 14 Marsh Lane in Preston, afterwards moving to 15 Tuson Street not far from St. Walburge`s Roman Catholic Church. Fred`s father worked on the railways, firstly as a `shunter` and then later a railway guard. Fred`s parents also appear to have adopted a young girl at some point, the 1901 Census showing a fifteen year old Helena Dougherty and she is described as an `adopted daughter`.

In 1911 the family were still resident at 15 Tuson Street, Fred`s parents were both working, Thomas a railway guard and Sarah Ann as a dressmaker. Fred was employed as a storekeeper`s assistant and his brother Thomas was a cotton weaver. The two youngest Agnes and Ellen were both attending school. Helena Dougherty had left the Sharrock home by this time and had moved to 97 Mount Pleasant in Liverpool employed as a domestic servant for pharmacist Edwin Harrison and his wife Henrietta.

Fred attested into the Army on the 30th November 1915 and was initially issued with the service number 4812 which would later become 201999. He was 22 years old, single and still living in Tuson Street in Preston. His occupation at the time was noted as a porter working in the warehouse at Moss`s Weaving Mill on Kirkham Street. For official purposes Fred named his father Thomas Sharrock as his legal next of kin. His medical inspection revealed that he was five feet nine and three quarter inches tall and he had a 35” chest. After passing his medical inspection Fred was posted to the Army Reserve and two months later on the 2nd February 1916 he was mobilised and then posted to the 2/4th Battalion LNL.

The 2/4th Battalion arrived in France on the 8th February 1917, Fred was a member of “A” Company. The men did not have much time to get used to their new surroundings, just a few days after landing they went straight into the trenches at SAILLY SUR LA LYS (near Armentieres on the Belgium border) on 15th February 1917. The Battalion remained in this same area throughout the summer, but after a month`s further training in September, they moved north to Boesinghe, just north of Ypres, where they went into the trenches on the 24th October, as the 57th Division prepared to play it`s part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele.

Sadly, Fred was one of the men declared `missing`  on the 26th October 1917, later confirmed to have died on or since that date. 

Extract from the Battalion War History

“At 3.40am on the morning of the 26th October 1917 the Battalion was formed up in its assembly position and moved off to attack at 5.40am capturing their immediate objectives (Mendling and Rubens Farms) fairly quickly and with relatively light casualties. In the process, however, all four Company Commanders had become casualties. The centre of the attack was then held up by heavy fire from German pill-boxes. The pill-box was eventually taken and a more dominant position achieved, but further advance was impossible due to heavy machine-gun fire from all sides. The Battalion captured 18 Germans and destroyed several enemy machine-guns. The ground advanced over was very bad, swampy and covered with shell holes”.

The Battalion casualties had been severe amounting to; 3 Officers and 58 other ranks killed or died of wounds, 8 Officers and 251 other ranks wounded and 38 men declared missing.

Fred`s family later published the following notice in the Preston Guardian;201999-lance-corporal-frederick-james-sharrock-2

His service records note that none of his personal effects were returned to his family in Preston. As his body was never recovered from the battlefield and Fred has no known grave, his name was later inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

After the war his parents received Fred`s British War and Victory Medals to which he was entitled and would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Private Frederick James Sharrock is remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Library in his hometown of Preston and is also remembered on the St. Walburge`s Roman Catholic Church War Memorial (pictured below).St. Walburge`sSt. Walburge`s panel

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 201999
Date of Death: 26/10/1917
Age: 24
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “D” Coy. 2nd/4th Bn.

Janet Davis
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