FROST, Charles

No.7553, Lance Corporal, Charles FROST
Aged 27

8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 1st and 2nd Battalions, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 17th February 1917

Charles Frost was born in Soham on 16th April 1889 (Newmarket Q2-1889 3B:560), baptised in Soham on 14th June 1889, son of Leonard and Charlotte FROST(née HUMAN).

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at The Shade, Soham with his father Leonard FROST [40] farm labourer born Isleham; his mother Charlotte [37] born Isleham; sisters Ellen [15], Mary [10], Sarah [9] and Susan [3 months]; brothers Harry [14] and Walter [12] both farm labourers, and William [7]. All except his parents and sister Ellen were born in Soham.

His mother died in 1908.

1901 census...Aged 11, he was at the Shade, Soham with his widower father; brothers Harry and William (both farm labourers) and Leonard [7] born Soham; sisters Sarah, Susan and Kate [8] and Clara [5] both born Soham.

1911 census...Aged 22, he has to be the 22 yrs old Charles Frost in Egypt with the 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. His father was still at the Shade, Soham with his sister Mary and brother Leonard.

He attested in Cambridgeshire Militia No.3422 on 4th February 1907 for 6 years.. He gave his age as 17 years 11 months, labourer employed by James Fleming of Ely. He was 5 feet 3.5 inches (161.3 cm) tall, weighed 108 lbs (49.1 kg), chest 33" to 36" (83.8 to 91.4 cm), blue eyes, light brown hair, Church of England. Next of kin given as father, Leonard Frost, the Shades, Soham. Posted to 4th battalion, Suffolk Regiment on 26th March 1907.
Enlisted in Bury St Edmunds for war service.
A summary from Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment":-
On February 17th the advance towards Miraumont began, the 18th Division..delivering the attack at 5:45 am. This operation became known in the 8th Battalion as the battle of Boom Ravine. Carried out in extremely trying weather conditions, sever frost that had lasted for a month suddenly thawed, creating a morass of the worst description. Few duck boards were available and carrying up to the front line was most difficult. Forming up had to be carried out at night, in thick mist and under a hostile barrage, zero hour had become known to the enemy.
The battalion quickly gained its objectives despite stubborn fighting in front of uncut wire, the leading waves succeeded in establishing themselves within a few hundred yards of Petit Miraumont. Consolidation wa snow made easier by the mist which prevented enemy observation and permitted freer movement across the open.

They suffered 130 casualties, of which 36 were killed, 24 of them buried in Regina Trench Cemetery, including Arthur Balls of Isleham.

Charles and several others graves were found in the yellow square, recorded by Grave Registration Unit and re-interred in Regina Trench in April 1919. Visitors should be aware this is definitely "off road" and despite Regina Trench being referred to as Grandcourt, it is really only accessible from Courcelette, via a long rough chalk track which steadily gets worse, then a 150 yard grass strip down to the cemetery itself (which has a stepped entrance).

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo:Rodney Gibson

Charles Frost is buried in Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, grave 6:D:6

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details