Frederick Chandler

Mary Norris

Frederick was born in Herstmonceaux, although some sources say Laughton. His birth was registered in the Lewes district in the second quarter of 1895. He was the second son and fourth child of David and Barbara Chandler, nee Goldsmith. The family moved to Lewes after the birth of their fifth child, Beatrice, in 1898.

By 1901 the family were living at 3 St John Street. David was a butcher and he died in 1906. Barbara became a live-in housekeeper for James Batup of Castle Banks, although all the children were still living together at 3 St John Street in 1911. Frederick, listed as Fred, was a shop porter with his elder brother listed as a shop assistant. Barbara remarried, Walter Waghorn the school attendance officer, in 1915.

Badge of the Royal Field Artillery
as depicted on a CWGC headstone

Frederick’s army papers are no longer available to view but it is possible to find out about some of his war service from other sources.
It is not known when he enlisted, but since he was not entitled to a 1914 or 1915 star it would suggest that he was called up after 1915.

He enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery in Hove and was numbered 661423. Numbering of the RFA is complicated so we cannot refine his enlistment date any further. Organisation of the RFA is also complicated. A Battery consisted of several guns and a Brigade consisted of several Batteries, although these did not necessarily operate in the same area.

Since the RFA was undergoing reorganisation during 1918 –  which was not completed by the end of the war – military historians have difficulty defining and locating all the Brigades and Batteries without recourse to regimental diaries. These however do not always contain sufficient detailed information.

From his death record with the CWGC we know that Frederick served in ‘B’ battery of the 119th Brigade RFA. This was a howitzer brigade serving with the 5th Division on the Western Front. At his death they were part of the Second Battle of the Somme and seem to have been sited near Bailleul on the Belgian border, although the exact location is uncertain.

He was killed on 08/09/1918 towards the end of the battle, and initially buried where he fell. After the war the CWGC took the decision to concentrate the bodies of the fallen, then in smaller isolated cemeteries where maintenance was difficult, into larger cemeteries to ensure proper commemoration. Frederick was identified from a cross erected over his initial grave. He was re-interred with honour in the Bailluel Communal Cemetery Extension in plot III G 144.

Frederick was entitled to the War and Victory medals which were sent to his mother. He is remembered on the St John sub Castro Memorial and the Lewes War Memorial.

This page was added on 27/10/2020.

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