PRENTICE, Frederick

No.20577, Private, Frederick PRENTICE
Aged 21

9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 16th September 1916

A son was born in Islington Workhouse on July 28th 1894 to Walter and Mary PRENTICE, named William and recorded as illegitimate. Registered Islington Q3-1894 1B:207, as William - no mother's maiden name recorded).
There are no Frederick PRENTICE registered as born in Islington in that period, albeit it seems his mother Mary Ann JONES appears to have married Walter PRENTICE born 1869, a carpenter, in Upper Holloway, Islington on 3rd August 1891. A Frederick William PRENTICE was baptised in Islington 20th November 1894, mother Mary Ann Prentice (no father's name) of 106 Elthorne Road. Still a mystery.

It does appear that his mother married Walter Prentice in 1891, who then "disappeared", Mary Ann then giving birth to a child (father not recorded) whilst in the Workhouse in Islington. If, as it seems, she died shortly after his birth, this would account for his being raised first by his grandmother Ann JONE and latterly by Thomas and Caroline CLARKE in West Row.

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at 16 Mulkern Road, Islington, London with his grandmother Ann JONES [64], married, born Cambridge and his mother Mary PRENTICE [32], married, born Islington. Neither grandfather nor father have yet been identified in this census. His mother possibly died later this year, in Islington. Grandfather was Thomas JONES, a gardener.

1911 census...Aged 16, he was in West Row, boarding with Thomas CLARKE [68] farmer, and his wife Caroline [67]. It was to Caroline Clarke that his final Army pay was remitted as his sole legatee.

Enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds.
On the 13th September, the 9th Suffolks were part of the attack on the Quadrilateral, got through the German outpost line easily but the were checked by machine gun fire from the Quadrilateral. Several attempts were made but eventually they had to dig in only half a mile from their start point.

On the 15th the objective for the 71st Brigade was the ridge between Morval and Les Beoufs. This was the opening day of the Flers-Courcelette battle.. Zero hour was 6:20 am, but the Suffolks, in support of the 9th Norfolks were not required to move until 90 minutes later, by which time the barrage had increased and once again, withering machine gun fire from the Quadrilateral made forward movement impossible. All the senior officers were killed or wounded, leaving Lieut. Allerton in command. They were relieved around midnight. Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" puts the casualties as 4 officers killed and 35 O.R. - 71st Officers wounded, 99 O.R. and 2 officers and 93 O.R. missing. Many of the missing were later reported killed

CWGC has 9 killed on 15th, but 100 on the 16th of which only 21 have identified graves. Ernest Rix was also killed in this same action. <

The Bury Free Press of 13th January 1917 reported:-

After many enquiries, belated news has been received from the War Office by his foster mother, Mrs. T.Clarke, of Cherry Villa, that Prvt.F.Prentice of the 9th Suffolk Regt., was killed in action between 13th and 16th Sept. last. Prvt Prentice enlisted in Kitchener's Army in Sept. 1914, and went with his regiment to France, where, like so many others, he met an untimely but honourable death.

amended map from Sherwood Foresters website

Frederick was found here before reburial at Serre Road No.2

Frederick Prentice is buried in Serre Road Cemetery No.2, grave 33:B:9
also commemorated on the Mildenhall war memorial

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