Frederick Humphrey

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Hildenborough, Kent, England, United Kingdom

General information

Journeyman / House Painter

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
 —  Manchester Regiment, 16th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Clapham Junction, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Place of death (approximate)

My story

On the 30th of July Private Humphrey Frederick of the 16th (Service) Battalion Manchester Regiment part of the 90th Brigade of the 30th division was in the assembly trenches in Sanctuary Wood, only 50 yards from the German positions in Sanctuary Wood. The following day, Tuesday 31st of July, Commonwealth forces would advance, in what is known as the battle of Pilckem Ridge. The 30th Division would attack at 3.50 a.m. with the 21st and the 90th Brigade. The 90th Brigade would advance with the 16th in the centre and the 18th Manchester’s on their right, whilst on their left the 1st Worcester’s. Once the 16th and 18th would have captured the Blue Line, their first objective, the 17th Manchester’s would pass through the 16th and advance in the direction of the second objective.
At zero hour, 3.50 a.m. the 90th Brigade moved forward through Sanctuary Wood under the cover of a powerful barrage. They encountered no enemy counter barrage, and the first dozen causalities were incurred as their initial wave advanced too quickly into its own protective barrage. The German trenches in Sanctuary Wood, described by the British as Jackdaw Support were quickly overrun by the 16th and 18th. The 16th first objectives were between Clapham Junction and a position just North of Surbiton Villas. This involved crossing the Ypres-Menin Road. However, because of the difficulties in establishing communication and the loss of direction in the devastated landscape, the fighting degenerated into small individual actions. A company managed to take the first objective in the Jackdaw Support trench. C company arrived at Clapham Junction, while a group of B company even winded up at the stables of Stirling Castle, due South of Clapham Junction.
Within an hour and a half after the attack commenced there reined complete chaos amongst the attackers. Men of over eight battalions were now crossing the Ypres-Menin road. Many of them were cut down by German machine guns, located on the higher ground at Glencorse Wood. After clearing the dugouts at Surbiton Villas, the 16th established a strong point there. The 16th and 18th then started mopping up the lines in the direction of Clapham Junction. In an attempt to continue the attack the 17th leapfrogged through the positions of the 16th. The attack was without success and the 17th was unable to reach the second objective and had to dig in under heavy enemy fire. From 5.00 a.m. the German artillery started shelling the whole area of Sanctuary Wood, making any communications with the Brigade Headquarter virtually impossible. The position of the Manchester’s was desperate but no knowledge of their circumstances was known at the Brigade HQ.
By mid-day on the 31st of July it started raining, filling the shellholes with water. Drowning was now a serious threat to the badly wounded. Progress by units in support became difficult. After 36 hours agonising in the mud the 16th, 17th and 18th were relieved on the morning of the 1st of August.
The 16th Manchester’s listed 230 casualties. Private Humphrey Frederick of the 16th died on the 2nd of August 1917. We presume that Private Humphrey succumbed of his wounds from the battle on the 31st of July and the 1st of August. Private Humphrey was probably buried on the battlefield or behind the lines but his grave must have been lost.

Sources 3

16 Battalion Manchester Regiment (The National Archives, Kew (TNA) WO 95/2339/1).
Further reference
McCarthy C., The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account, (London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 22-23).
Sources used
Stedman M., Manchester Pals 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd + 23rd Battalions of Manchester Regiment: A History of the Two Manchester Brigades, (London, Leo Cooper, 1994, pg 172-176).
Sources used

More information 3