COE, Frederick William

No.54097, Private, Frederick William COE
Aged 19

1st/5th Battalion, Prince of Wales' Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)
Died of his Wounds on Saturday, 12th October 1918

Frederick William COE was born in Kedington (Risbridge Q3-1899 4A:799), baptised in St Peter and St Pauls, Kedington on 8th October 1899, son of Julia COE. His mother married William SARGEANT in Q1-1910 (West Ham 4A:153).

1901 census...Aged 1 month, he was at Railway Terrace, Kedington with his grandfather William COE [62] thatcher; his grandmother Ellen [62]; aunt Harriet COE [24]; uncles Harry COE [20] bricklayer's labourer and Richard COE [17] thatcher. All were born in Kedington

1911 census...Aged 11, he was still at Railway Terrace, Kedington with his grandparents, aunt Harriet and uncles Harry William (wheelwright's labourer) and Richard John (thatcher).

His Army service records indicate the family later moved to Rectory Road, Kedington. He was the nephew of Harry William COE. see here

His service record survive in the "burnt documents" albeit badly damaged. What can be read however is here:-
He attested on 14th August 1917 and was placed on Reserves. He was mobilised on 26th September 1917 at Greenwich, giving his age as 18 years 26 days, born in Kedington. He was 5 feet 6.25 inches (168.2 cm) tall, weighed 115 lbs (52.3 kg), chest 32" to 35" (81.3 to 88.9 cm). An engine driver for S.M.G Coy, he lived at Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich and named Miss Edith Ford of 13 Lambs Lane, Greenwich as his next of kin.
Initially in the 97th Training Reserve Battalion, he was transferred to the 51st Grad Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment. Via J Depot on 30th April 1918 he was posted to the BEF on 1st May and transferred to the 1st /5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, joining them in the field on 6th May 1918. He received a gun shot wound to the head on 12th October and died later that day.
His belongings were sent to his mother Mrs Julia Sargeant of 41 Blackley Buildings, East Greenwich, London, who completed the living relatives form on 20th August 1919, giving father as deceased, herself as mother, grandfather William COE, aunt Harriet COE and uncles William Willis COE, John COE and Richard John COE, all at Rectory Road, Kedington. She is given as his sole legatee.

He had died during what is commonly known as the Pursuit to the Selle, a mobile phase close to the end of the war. The 1st/5th West Yorks were advancing towards Haspres from Avesnes-le-Sec.

By using and map sheet 51a you can trace their movements on a Google earth view

..... 1st/5th Battalion war diary :-
"The battalion was ordered to continue the attack in conjunction with 51st Division on the left and the 147th Brigade on the right. The frontage allotted to the battalion was 1,200 yards extending from 51a.O.31.d.0.5 to U.2. central. The objective for the day was line AVESNES- VILLERS-EN-CAUCHIES RAILWAY. The formation adopted by the battalion for the attack was "D" Coy on the left with 3 platoons in line of sections in file and one platoon in support in artillery formation. "A" Coy on the right in the same formation with "C" Coy in support to "D" Coy, and "B" Coy in support to "A" Coy. The battalion commenced the attack without a barrage at 11:15 and moved rapidly forward until reaching a line O.27.b.central -O.35.a.00.60 when heavy machine gun fire from AVESNES-LE-SEC was encountered. The Coys in the 1st wave extended and were reinforced by "B" Coy which came up on the right and the advance was held up for approximately 5 minutes after which it was continued, the objective being reached at 12:45. the enemy put down a heavy barrage immediately the 1st wave began to move forward and this continued until the objective was reached. Very few of the enemy were actually encountered, he appearing to rely on long range machine gun fire and his protective barrage.
On arrival at the objective "D" Coy on the left, "A" Coy left centre, "C" Coy right centre, "B" Cot on right commenced to dig in and advance posts pushed forward on a line with the QUARRIES. Battalion HQ moved forward in rear of the attack and established itself in the RAILWAY STATION O.28.b.0.5. Information having been received the the 147th Brigade on the right had pushed forward, two platoons per Coy were ordered to to establish advanced posts on the high ground O.22.b - P.26 central to conform with the 51st Division on the left and the 147th Brigade on the right. The line was subsequently advanced to approximately O.17.central -O.23.b to WOOD O.30.b.9.3.and as the Division on the left failed to conform"D" Coy threw out a defensive flank running O.17.central to O.18.d.9.1.
At 22:55 the battalion was ordered to trickle forward to the RIVER SELLE and attempt to secure crossings over the river in order to cover the building of bridges. One platoon under 2nd Lt H Berghoff went forward with the objective of seizing the bridge at O.18.a.central. This platoon failed after two attempts to reach its objective in consequence of heavy machine gun fire. Another platoon under 265375 Sgt KAVANAGH went forward to secure a crossing at P.19.a., it reached the river at this point where it dug in and remained until the evening of the following day. when it withdrew to conform with the right and left flanks.
CASUALTIES- wounded 2nd Lt ;BENNETT, killed 12 other ranks, wounded 29 other ranks. The following wire was received from the Divisional Commander, Major General N J G CAMERON. CB, CMG :- "warmly congratulate you and your battalions on the very fine advance you made yesterday.I think that it very materially helped the general situation even though some of the ground won could not be held. Please communicate to all ranks and explain that enemy retreat today largely due to your efforts yesterday."

CWGC records show 15 of the battalion dying on the 12th October 1918.

NOTE:- The map co-ordinates converter (the link above) is an excellent way of working out where troops were operating, just remember that the sheet number is not always given so a little home work is necessary first. The same site can find where bodies have been found (to within a 50 yards, even 5 yards square) from the concentration cards now on line on CWGC website.

Dying of his wounds we cannot be certain even which day Frederick was wounded, but if he died the same day,this is the area,below

12th October..objective -railway line

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Frederick Coe is buried in Naves Communal Cemetery Extension, grave 5:A:3

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

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