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Frederick Mayor was born in Preston in 1882 the son of Henry and Ellen Mayor (nee Horan). His parents had married on the 16th July 1874 in the Parish Church of St. John in Preston, the marriage record noting that Frederick`s father was a widower. He married his first wife, Eliza Mayor (nee Dale) in Childwall All Saints in Liverpool in 1864 and the couple had four children together; Henrietta (1864) was born in Liverpool and then Henry and Eliza moved to a cottage in Church Bottoms, Samlesbury where three more children followed; Ralph Thomas (1866), Elizabeth (1868) and Ann Jane (1870). Eliza passed away in 1872.

Frederick`s mother Ellen was fourteen years younger than his father and the pair went on to have a further eight children together; Mary Jane (1875), Peter (1877), Alfred Henry (1879), Mary Ellen (1883), Charles Arthur (1886), Walter (1891), Ralph Hall (1891) and Michael (1894). In 1891 the family lived in Isherwood Street in Preston where Frederick`s father was a warehouseman working in a cotton mill.

On the 22nd July 1899, Frederick attested into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment agreeing to serve a term of 5 years with the Colours and 7 on Reserve, his service number was 6089. He named his father Henry Mayor of 10 Terrace Street in Preston as his official next of kin. Frederick served in Malta, Crete and Gibraltar with the 2nd Battalion LNL before purchasing his discharge on the 16th March 1904. Frederick then re-enlisted into the Army on the 21st March 1905, service number 7270, his conditions of service now altered to 3 years with the Colours and 9 on the Reserve. His medical inspection revealed that he was of fresh complexion with grey eyes and brown hair. He was 5`6½” tall and he weighed 136lbs. The following year on the 28th April 1906 he married Catherine Butler at St. Paul`s Church in Preston, the marriage record noting that he was a soldier. A daughter Mary Evelyn was born in Preston later that same year.

Frederick then departed for South Africa to serve with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment 26/9/1906 – 18/10/07 and then went on to Mauritius 19/10/1907 – 20/4/1908 before returning home on the 21st April 1908. The following year a son was born to Frederick and Catherine and they named him Frederick after his father. On the 21st April 1909 Frederick re-engaged with the Army for a further year before finally being transferred to the Army Reserve on the 22nd April 1910.

When the 1911 Census was recorded, Frederick was lodging with Ann Jane Eglen and her husband Albert Edmund at 25-27 Mincing Lane in Blackburn. Ann Jane was Frederick`s half-sister from his father`s first marriage. According to the Census, Ann Jane`s husband Albert Edmund was a herbalist and Frederick`s occupation was recorded as an `assistant herbalist` so presumably Frederick was working for his brother-in-law. Meanwhile, Frederick`s wife and their two children were lodging at 70 Schofield Street in Heywood in the home of Henry and Elizabeth Snape. Also lodging was 50 year old Ann Carey and her daughter Janey aged 17. The Census notes the house only had three rooms so it must have been rather cramped with seven people living there. Catherine was working as a cotton weaver.

At the outbreak of war, Frederick was still a reservist and so was mobilised on the 5th August 1914 and he embarked for France with the 1st Battalion LNL on the 12th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Unfortunately Frederick received what was described in his papers as a shell wound in the left thigh on the 14th September 1914 which was the start of the Battle of Aisne. To read about the events leading up to and including this date please see Diary of a Second Lieutenant (1st Battalion) – click here.

Frederick was eventually invalided back to England via the SS Asturias on the 22nd September 1914 for further treatment on his wounds.

From newspaper accounts it would appear that Frederick had become very depressed seemingly triggered by the death of his half-sister Ann Jane Eglen. Sadly, on Tuesday 26th January 1915 Frederick took his own life by means of cyanide of potassium, the newspaper also reporting that he had been due to return to his Regiment on Sunday next (31st January).

An inquest was held and the official results which can be found amongst Frederick`s service papers were later conveyed to the Officer Commanding Loyal North Lancashire Regiment;

The newspaper, the Preston Herald, also reported on the tragic circumstances of Frederick`s death;

Frederick was later laid to rest in the churchyard of St. Leonard the Less in Samlesbury. Frederick`s father Henry was born in Samlesbury and he and former generations had long associations with the area, his father had also been baptised in the same church which may explain why Frederick was buried there.

Photo taken in 2015

Frederick`s widow Catherine and their two children remained in Heywood living at 5 Back Burns Street, this address appears in Frederick`s service papers. After the war Catherine took receipt of her deceased husband`s 1914 Star & Clasp, British War and Victory Medals to which he was entitled.

Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Janet Davis has been researching her family history for many years and through this she discovered many relatives who served in WW1. This interest then led Janet to do many walking the battlefield tours with her husband. In April 2013 she discovered this website and volunteered to help. Janet believes that there are lots of stories still to be told, most of them very sad but at the same time they are a fascinating insight into the men, their families, what they did and where they came from.
Janet Davis

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