Frederick Ernest Garner

From towers to trenches, we remember Frederick Ernest Garner

In the tiny English county of Rutland is the small market town of Oakham, once the home of a considerable wool trade and home to an army of weavers. The railway came to Oakland in 1848 and brought with it new additions to the population. Among the new arrivals were Tom and Eliza Garner from Leicestershire, Tom was employed as a signalman at the Oakham railway station in 1881 and was still employed as such in the 1911 census. Interestingly the signal box at Oakham is grade 2 listed and was copied by Airfix modellers.

The couple had 8 children; 6 of whom had survived to the 1911 census. Of the six only Caroline Emily age 23 and Frederick Ernest age 21 were living at home. Caroline was self-employed as a dressmaker and Frederick was employed by Rutland County Council as an Assistance schoolmaster .

It is presumed that he learnt to ring at All Saints, Oakham which is a ring of 8 bells cast by Gilbert and Johnston in 1910. At some point Frederick found himself in Stony Stratford and joined the local band of bellringers.

He enlisted in Oakham and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the 91st Field Ambulance. His service records advise that Frederick was 26 years and 10 days when he enlisted and was 5 feet 8 ¼ inches in height with a 38inch chest. He gave his next of kin as Rose Garner of 14 Ashwell Road, Oakham. The couple were married at All Saints Church Oakham on the 15th May 1913 and they had no children.

His service began on the 4th November and he was initially stationed at Sheffield. He joined the BEF on the 26th January 1916 and died from Tuberculosis 267 days later.

Frederick was buried in the Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery in plot IV.A.66.

Information sources

Census records for 1911, 1901, 1891, 1881

Commonwealth war graves commission

Buckinghamshire remembers

Army service records