Frederick Ernest Potter Willmer was born in Worthing in 1878 and was the oldest of five children to Eliza Emma Willmer. She married Charles William Sparks Green in December 1880, and the couple went on to have four children – Frederick’s half-siblings.
Frederick falls off the radar for a number of years, only reappearing in 1898 when, on 26th October, he married Gertrude Boote. The couple would go on to have two children, Maude and Leslie.
By 1901, the young family were living near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, where Frederick was working as a coachman and groom. Sussex was calling, however, and, by the time of the census ten years later, the family had returned to Worthing. Frederick was now working as a gardener, and the family were living in two rooms in a house near the centre of the town.
With war calling, Frederick signed up to do his bit. His full service records no longer exist, but it is clear that he joined the Royal Sussex Regiment, and, as a Private, was assigned to the 72nd Provisional Battalion.
It seems that Private Willmer was part of the territorial force, serving instead on home soil, rather than overseas. The next record available for him – his pension record – confirms that he died on 12th December 1915 as a result of a cerebral haemorrhage following an illness. He was just 37 years old.
Brought home to Worthing, Frederick Ernest Potter Willmer was laid to rest in the Broadwater Cemetery in the town.