Frederick George Scrase was born around November 1889 in Ammenhurst near the town of Brighton in Sussex and sadly was killed in action on 2nd March 1916.
Frederick’s army records (L/8699) were quite extensive, which enabled me to build up quite a good picture of him, he was not tall at 5ft 4inches and weighing 107lbs, he had a fresh complextion, hazel eyes and brown hair. Prior to joining the army after receiving notice to serve in April 1907 he was a grocer. When Frederick first started his service he had several disciplinary offences for drinking and laughing and talking, all when not on duty though – life must have been so tough for them! It appears that after a year or so these occurances become fewer and from being a soldier that was “a hard worker, but requires supervision”, he was then descibed as “improved and is very capable”. Frederick was promoted to Corporal on 5th March 1913 after 6 years and 6 months in service and then the Sergeant on 5th August 1914.
Frederick obtained a few certificates of education whilst serving:
- 3rd class 12/3/09
- 2nd class 24/6/13
- transport class? 14/12/12
- qualified instructor in marindin range finder
Looking at his military history Frederick was home from 23 April 1907 to 11 August 1914 (7 years 111 days), being stationed in Chichester on 23 April 1907 and Belfast on 18th October 1907). From here he was in the expeditionary force from 12 August 1914 to 21 May 1915 (283 days), he then came home again from 22 May 1915 to 25th January 1916 (249 days) before his final deployment with the British Expeditionary Force on 26th January 1916 until the date of his untimely death aged 27.
It appears from the casualty form that he suffered several injuries whilst on duty, all of which I have listed below:
- 9/10/1914 Hosp Alveolar Abscess in the field
- 09/5/1915 Wounded in action Richebourg
- 11/5/1915 GSW Chest (severe) Boulogne
- 21/5/1915 tfr to England Boulogne
- 26/1/1916 embarked for ? Inf Base Ham – 5/2/1916 ? Bn Field
- 2/3/1916 Killed in Action in the field
The Royal Sussex Regiment – 2nd Battalion, of which Frederick was part of were in Woking serving with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division when war broke out in August 1914. They proceeded to France in August 1914, and fought on the Western Front throughout the war, taking part in most of the major actions. In 1914 they were involved in The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, the First Battle of Ypres and the Winter Operations of 1914-15. In 1915 they were in action during The Battle of Aubers and The Battle of Loos. In 1916 they were in action in the Battles of the Somme.
I located quite a lot of information on Frederick from his Army service records including the fact that he was not married and that his sister was Bertha Jane Miller, this enabled me to piece together his family.
Frederick George Scrace was born in about 1889 (Q4 1889 Brighton, Sussex Vol 2b Page 25).
From the 1891 Census it can be seen that Frederick’s parents are most likely Frederick and Jane Scrase. Frederick Senior being born in about 1861 in Patcham, Sussex and his mother Jane about 1862 in Chichester, Sussex. He also appears to have a sister Florence also born in Brighton, but in about 1882, as well as another sister Bertha (which ties in nicely with Frederick’s Army records) who is shown as being born in about 1884 in Brighton. Also living with them on the date on the census is Frederick’s grandmother Mary A Scrase who was born in about 1821 in Brighton. The family were living at 23 Washington Street in Brighton which is still standing today and can clearly be seen on Google maps as a mid terrace property about half way down the road itself. Frederick Senior is a Stationery Engine driver and Jane his wife is a laundress. (Source Citation: Class: RG12; Piece: 808; Folio: 16; Page: 25; GSU Roll: 6095918.)
From the 1901 Census it appears that Jane has sadly died and Frederick Senior has remarried Emily who is younger than him, being born in about 1867 in Haywards Heath, Sussex Frederick also is listed as having a middle name starting with W. Florence is no longer living with the family, but Bertha is. Frederick also now has a brother Sidney who was born about 1892 in Brighton and another sister Kate who was born also in Brighton in about 1894. The family are still living in Washington Street in Brighton, which looking at the photos of the property, must have been quite a squeeze! (Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 924; Folio: 59; Page: 5.)
I have so far been unable to ascertain with certainty Frederick’s location on the night of the 1911 census.
Having found out that Frederick’s parents were Frederick W Scrace and Jane, I then tried to locate their marriage, quickly I found a Frederick Walter Scrace’s marriage to Caroline Jane Stubbs on 5th June 1881 at St Peters Church in Brighton. On this record Frederick’s father is named as William Scrase (Source Citation: Place: Brighton, Sussex, England; Collection: St Peter; -; Date Range: 1876 – 1881; Film Number: 1067138.) is this who Jane is? or did he marry Jane Arnell who was living with Frederick Senior and Mary his mother in 1881 at 23 Washington Street in Brighton, she was also a washerwoman, possiby just a coincidence as I searched for marriages between Jane Arnell and Frederick Scrase to no avail. As Jane is not with Frederick in 1901, I then searched for death records between 1891 and 1901 for Caroline Jane Scrase and found a death record in Q2 1898, she was 35 at the date of her death, which ties in with what I found on the 1891 census ( Brighton Vol 2b Page 143).
Frederick Senior then I believe remarried Emily.
I then went in search of Frederick Senior in the 1871 Census but was unable to find a Frederick with parents Mary And William Scrase born in Patcham, I did though find Walter F Scrase born in the correct year with parents Mary A and William who I believe could be the correct family living at none other than 23 Washington Street, Brighton! William is shown as born in about 1821 in Ditching, Sussex and is a Labourer. Walter appears to be the only son at this date. (Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 1078; Folio: 69; Page: 6; GSU roll: 827497.)
In the 1861 Census the only close match is William and Mary living in Broadwater Street in Broadwater, Sussex. William is a platelayer for the Railway born in about 1813 and is shown as being born in Westminster, London. Mary is shown as a laundress. Mary’s details tie in well, but not so much for William, so this may or not be the correct family, so I have stopped here for now.
Of course to confirm I will need to purchase some certificates especially to confirm the mother of Frederick, but until then I believe the following to be true:
Frederick Scrase (1889 to 1916) was the son of
Walter Frederick Scrase (born circa 1860) and Caroline Jane Stubbs (born circa 1862) who in turn was the son of William Scrase (born circa 1821) and Mary A Scrase.
[Photo of Royal Sussex Regiment from http://battlefields1418.50megs.com/royalsussex.htm]
If you recognise this family then please make contact as I would love to add to this with more findings, photos or confirmation of the details.
Until next time…………….