Frederick Metcalfe

Frederick Metcalfe
Born in Holywell in 1876, Frederick was one of ten children (two of whom died in infancy) born to Thomas, a fisherman, and Emma (née Webster). The family home was Wildcroft, Front Street, Holywell, next to the Ferryboat Inn. By 1891 Thomas was in business as a rod and rush merchant, employing three of his sons. Thomas died in 1892, when Frederick was aged 16yrs.

By 1901 Frederick was still living at home, aged 23yrs, him and his elder brother working on their own account as a fishermen. His mother was head of the household, her widowed sister and granddaughter living with them. The position remained unaltered in 1911, other than the elder brother had moved out.

Enlisting at Huntingdon in March 1916, Frederick gave his occupation as gents attendant. He joined the 6th Battalion, Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment and was involved in battle on the Front from late 1916.

As part of the Battle of Arras, Frederick's Battalion was ordered to prepare the way for an assault on Roeux, one of a number of fortified villages that formed the German defensive line. In the front trenches injury and death were a daily occurrence as a nervous enemy relentlessly shelled the British positions.

British troops advancing across no-man's land during the Battle of Arras
On Saturday 12 May 1917 Frederick's trench was severely shelled, resulting in thirteen casualties. Frederick was one of eight killed, hit by a German shell aged 40yrs. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. Frederick is also remembered on the Needingworth War Memorial.

Why is Frederick on the St Ives War Memorial. He seems to have no connection with the town. His next of kin was his mother, Emma, who was living with her daughter Ellen Freeman at Melbourne Place, St Ives, at the time of Frederick's death. When the Town Council canvassed for names to display on the St Ives War Memorial, Frederick's mother or sister presumably gave Frederick's details.

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Source materials
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