© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
2 Frederick J Fletcher
Frederick James Fletcher was born in Avening in March 1888, the second child of seven born to John
James Fletcher, a stonemason of Avening (1862-1934) and his wife Ellen (née Large) born Ashley,
Wiltshire in 1864 and who died in 1901.
At the time of the 1891 census, the family were living on Pound Hill, Avening, although Charles, the
eldest child was living with his aunt and uncle in a cottage in Woodstock. By 1901, the family had
outgrown their two-roomed cottage and had moved into a larger home on the High Street.
However, this was still only a three-roomed property and with parents and six children it must have
been crowded. Ellen died later in 1901 and there were probably a number of reasons why Frederick
joined the Grenadier Guards in June 1907.
He signed on and was medically examined at Stroud on Tuesday the 18th of June and had his
primary Military Examination at Bristol the following day. He took “the King’s Shilling” in London on
His Attestation Form describes him as being 5ft 8in tall (1.73m), weighing 11 stone 8 lbs (73.5 kgs),
with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He “signed on” for 12 years, three years service
and nine years on the reserve and completed his regular commitment in June 1910.
By this time the family had moved again, this time to a property at Nags Head.
Following the outbreak of war, he was recalled to the colours on the 5th of August 1914 and after
undergoing training at Lyndhurst in Hampshire left for France from Southampton on the 5th of
October. He was serving with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and a fortnight later they were
engaged in the First Battle of Ypres.
His unit was at Gheluvelt on the 29th of October and the War Diaries of the 1st Battalion tell us that
they were hugely outnumbered in both men and guns and were holding an important position at a
crossroads. They were in position by 5.30 am that morning, at which time there was heavy fog with
which to contend. During the day they were heavily shelled and then suffered a full-frontal attack by
large numbers of enemy troops. Despite this, the Grenadiers both took these attacks and
counterattacked in such a way as to have the Germans believe they were fighting larger numbers
and acted accordingly.
It was during these actions that the battalion lost 750 of its 1,000 men, Frederick Fletcher being one
of them. He was reported missing on the 29th of October and his next of kin (his father) was
notified on the 25th of November. Subsequently, it was assumed he had died on the 29th and his
father was notified of that decision on the 6th of January 1915.
Frederick has no known grave, but is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. He was
unmarried but was survived by a number of his immediate family. To date, we have not been able to
contact any descendants.