Private Frederick Thomas Gardner, 9th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died of wounds on 1st October 1915 aboard the hospital ship, Formosa. Born in Crewkerne, Somerset, on 17th September 1896, he was the elder of the two children of parents, Thomas (a butcher) and Elizabeth (née Dunster) who had married in Winchester district in 1894. His brother, Edwin James (1898-1950) was born in Yeovil on 20th September 1898.
By the time of the 1901 census, the family was still living in Yeovil, although they had moved to Tanworth Lane, Shirley by March 1906 when Frederick joined Solihull Grammar School. His brother, Edwin, also attended the school.
Father, Thomas, had become a clerk to a hardware merchant by 1911, when the family was living in Stratford Street, Sparkhill. 14-year-old Frederick was also working a clerk to a coal merchant. A keen footballer and cricketer, he joined the Army on 1st May 1915 and served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli from August 1915. His brother, Edwin, served as a Gunner with the Royal Garrison Artillery and was discharged in February 1919.
Frederick died aboard ship and so is buried at sea, being commemorated on Helles Memorial. His name is missing from Solihull School war memorial but is included in the Books of Remembrance at the Hall of Memory, Birmingham. His father, Thomas, had died on 28th August 1915, so was spared the knowledge of his son’s death.
His mother, Elizabeth, continued to live in Stratford Street, Sparkhill with her surviving son, Edwin, who became a brass turner. He died in 1950, aged 52. Elizabeth, having outlived her husband and both of her sons, died in 1952, aged 91.
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