Rifleman Frederick John Doughty was killed in action on 6th August 1916, serving with the 13th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He was born in Bishop’s Tachbrook, Warwickshire in 1889 and was the eldest of the two children on parents, Frederick (a gardener at the time of his son’s baptism) and Emma (née Eels) who had married in Coventry in 1888. His younger sister, Elsie, was born on 28th December 1894.
By 1901, the family had moved a few miles to Leamington Spa where Frederick senior was a farmer at Rushmore Farm. They were still at that address in June 1908 when Frederick junior enlisted in the Territorial Force (TF), joining the Warwickshire Royal Horse Artillery.
The unit had only been formed two months previously following the enactment of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, which combined the old Yeomanry, Volunteer Force, and the Honorable Artillery Company, and disbanded the militia. Frederick’s service record indicates that he attended the annual training camp in 1909 and 1910 but was absent in 1911. It looks as if he left the TF in 1912.
Between 1908 and 1911, the family moved to Lapworth, where Frederick senior was farming at Malthouse Farm, assisted by his son. With the outbreak of war, Frederick joined the Army at Birmingham on 31st August 1914, although his service record notes that his original attestation couldn’t be traced and, with Frederick having a scar on his leg from an operation on his calf, he was considered unfit for marching but suitable for service with the Royal Horse Artillery or Royal Field Artillery. In the absence of his original attestation record, Frederick re-attested at Southend on 20th April 1915, aged 26 years and seven months. He embarked for France on 29th March 1916, just over four months before he was killed.
His service record includes a short letter from his parents to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps Record Office, dated 21st August 1916:
I should feel extremely obliged if you could give me any information as to when my son was killed and buried as it would greatly relieve me from my sufferings as he was my only boy.
From his broken-hearted mother & father F & E Doughty.
Frederick senior died in 1944 and his wife, Emma, in 1946. Their surviving child, Elsie, married bricklayer Frederick E. Hartles in 1915 and they appear to have had three children (one son and two daughters). She appears to have named her son after her late brother. Elsie died in Sandwell in 1978.
Rifleman Frederick John Doughty has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on memorials at Lapworth, Hockley Heath and Umberslade Baptist Church.
If you have any further information about the family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
tel.: 0121 704 6977