CWG: Private Frederick Finch

Private Frederick Finch

Frederick Henry Harvey Finch was born in 1876 in the Sussex village of Ripe. He was one of eleven children, born to James and Eliza Finch. James was an agricultural labourer, a trade into which most of his children, Frederick included, followed.

In the spring of 1900, Frederick married Ellen Maloney. She had been born in Fareham, Hampshire, and, by the time of the 1891 census, ages just nine years old, was recorded in the Union Workhouse in Portsea. The couple wed in Hailsham, and went on to have three children, Frederick Jr, Hilda and Herbert.

By now, Frederick had moved on from farm labouring, and was working as a groom and a gardener. Within ten years, however, he had moved the family to the coast and the village of Angmering; he had found new employment, working as a carter for a coal merchant.

Frederick continued in this line of work as war broke out, but was one of the first to join the village’s contingent of the Voluntary Training Corps. He seemed to be content with this and at the start of 1917, he enlisted in the armed forces, joining the Army Veterinary Corps.

Private Finch was sent to Woolwich for training, but within a matter of weeks fell ill. Admitted to the Royal Herbert Hospital, he passed away on 24th January 1917, at the age of 40. No specific cause of death is recorded, but a local newspaper report of his funeral suggests, rather disingenuously, that “his health, which was never very robust, proved unequal to the strain of Army life”. [Worthing Gazette: Wednesday 7th February 1917]

Frederick Henry Harvey Finch was brought back to Angmering for burial He lies at rest in the graveyard of St Margaret’s Church in the village.

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