Frederick Charles Crook was born in Frome, Somerset, in 1896 and was one of eleven children. His parents were Frank and Bessie Crook, and the family were raised in a house to the south of the town centre. Frank was a plasterer but sadly details of his son’s life are quite sketchy, so it’s not evident if this was a trade he followed his father into.
In the spring of 1912, Frederick married Wiltshire-born domestic servant Hannah Gerrish, a farm labourer’s daughter. The couple wed in Bradford-upon-Avon, and went on to have a daughter, Margaret, who was born in 1913.
Storm clouds were gathering over Europe, and, in November 1914, Frederick volunteered to play his part. He joined the Somerset Light Infantry, and was assigned to the 1st Battalion as a Private.
While it’s not possible to identify exactly where he served, Frederick would certainly have seen action on the Western Front: his battalion fought with the 4th Division at Ypres, The Somme and at Arras in the various phases of the conflict.
The ongoing conflict must have had an impact on Private Crook: he was medically discharged from military service with neurasthenia – a nervous breakdown – just weeks before the Armistice was signed. He returned to Frome, but it must have been too much: he passed away on 10th December 1918, at the age of just 22 years old.
Frederick Charles Crook was laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church, in his home town, Frome.