Frederick James White was born in the autumn of 1898, one of four children to Frederick and Emma White. Frederick Sr was a gas fitter from Frome, and the Somerset town was where the family were raised.
As a youngster, Frederick Jr attended the Primitive Methodist Sunday School in the town. He also acted as treasurer for the local YMCA. He was only 15 when war broke out, so was not able to enlist immediately.
However, by 1916 he had joined the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment as a Private and, at some point, was assigned to the Royal North Devon Hussars.
Either way, in whichever regiment he served, Frederick saw fighting in France, and was wounded in the autumn of 1917. Medically evacuated back to England, he was admitted to the temporary military hospital at Collegiate Hall in Sheffield.
The local newspaper shed a little more light into Frederick’s life:
Deceased, who was in the North Devon Hussars, died on November 22nd, at Sheffield, of wounds he received on November 5th. He was brought back to England three weeks to the day from the time he sailed for France.Somerset Standard: Friday 30th November 1917
Private White’s wounds were too much; he passed away at the age of just 19 years old.
Frederick James White’s body was brought back to his home town. He was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery in Vallis Road, Frome.
Frederick Sr and Emma White would have been understandably saddened by their son’s passing. They had four children; their eldest, Florence, had passed away before reaching her first birthday. Their youngest, Reginald, had died in childbirth. Frederick had died as a result of the First World War.
Sadly, the tragedy wasn’t yet over. Their only surviving child, Frederick’s younger brother William, passed away in August 1919, aged just 17 years old.
Frederick Sr and Emma had outlived all of their children, none of whom had reached or survived their teenage years.