Gunner Fred Checkley, 260th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, died of pneumonia on 14th November 1918, at No. 12 General Hospital, Rouen. He was born on 2nd August 1897 in Stretford, Lancashire, and was the second of four children (two sons, two daughters) of parents, Fred (a jewellery buyer born in Birmingham) and Alice Agnes (née Webber) who had married in the Kings Norton district in 1894.
By 1896, the couple were in Lancashire, where their four children – Dorothy (born 1896), Fred (junior), Gladys Agnes (1901-1994) and Cyril (1904-1978) were born. Fred (junior) attended Manchester Grammar School 1911-1913.
The family had moved to Olton by 1918, naming their house “Davyhulme”, presumably after their previous place of residence. They remained in Olton for the next 30 years, living at 123 Warwick Road in 1939, and in St Bernard’s Road by the time of the death of Fred (senior) in 1951.
We don’t know when Fred joined the Army – he could have volunteered in 1915 around the time of his 18th birthday, or been called up from 1916. He doesn’t seem to have seen any overseas service prior to 1916. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen and is commemorated locally on Olton war memorial. His name is also listed on the war memorial at Manchester Grammar School.
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