CWG: Gunner Fred Ford

Gunner Fred Ford

Fred Ford was born in the Wiltshire town of Mere in 1877. One of eight children to John and Charlotte, his father was an agricultural labourer from the village.

When he left school, Fred initially found work as an errand boy; he soon moved into labouring and, by the time of the 1901 census, was employed as a bricklayer.

In 1904, Fred married Florence Phillips; she was the daughter of an agricultural labour from Somerset. Fred, by this time, had found work as a coal miner in the county, and the young couple set up home in the village of Babington, near Frome. They went on to have four children.

Conflict was on the horizon and, while full details of his military service are not available, it’s clear that he enlisted as soon as he was able to, almost as was was declared. Gunner Ford joined the Royal Field Artillery, and was assigned to the 108th Brigade of the regiment’s Ammunition Corps.

Initially based in Taunton, Fred was soon moved to Portsmouth and then Worthing, and it was here, in the first winter of the war, that he contracted influenza and pneumonia. Admitted to St Cecil’s Red Cross Military Hospital in the Sussex town, sadly the condition proved too much for him. He passed away on 8th February 1915, tragically hours before Florence arrived from Somerset. Gunner Ford was just 37 years old.

Finances not enabling her to transport his remains back home, Florence Ford laid Fred’s body to rest in Broadwater Cemetery in Worthing, the town where he died.

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