Frederick Charles Cable was born on 22nd November 1890 in Eastbourne, West Sussex. He was the younger of three children to John and Louisa Cable, and the family lived on one floor of a three-storey house in the middle of the town.
When Frederick was born, John was working as a billiard marker, but it seems that this was a poor way to scratch together a living for a young father. The 1901 census found the family in London, where John had been born, and where he was not employed as a hotel waiter.
Sadly, the new set-up was not to last long: John died in 1905, leaving Louisa to raise her boys on her own. The next census record, in 1911, records the two of them living a five-room terraced house in East Finchley. They were not alone, however, as they were sharing it with a widow – Elizbeth Hickinbottom – and her 34-year old son, George.
A year later, George and Louisa married, and went on to have a daughter, also called Louisa. Frederick, meanwhile, was to find love of his own, and, in the spring of 1914, while working as a milkman, he married Dorothy Ada Laurence. They would go on to have a son, who they named after his father, a year later.
By this point, war was raging in Europe, and Frederick was called to do his duty in May 1915. His records show that he was 5ft 7ins (1.70m) tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion and was given the rank of Stoker 2nd Class.
Over the next couple of years, Frederick served on two ships – HMS Actaeon and HMS Weymouth – and it was on board the latter that he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class in April 1916. The majority of his time, however, was spent on shore-based establishments: HMS Victory in Hampshire and HMS Pembroke in Kent.
The Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham (HMS Pembroke) was where he spent most of his time, and was where he returned to in the summer of 1917. It was a particularly busy place at that point in the war and temporary accommodation was set up. Frederick found himself billeted at The Drill Hall, away from the main barracks.
On the night of 3rd September 1917, Chatham suddenly found itself in the firing line, as the German Air Force launched a bombing raid. One of the bombs landed squarely on the Drill Hall, and Stoker Cable was killed instantly. He was just 26 years old.
Ninety-eight servicemen perished during the Chatham Air Raid that night. They were buried in a mass funeral at the Woodlands Cemetery in nearby Gillingham. This, too, is where Frederick Charles Cable was laid to rest.
Frederick’s brother John Cable also fought in the First World War. He served as a Sergeant in the 21st Battalion Middlesex Regiment and was killed at the Battle of St Quentin on 25th March 1918. He was 28 years old and left a widow and three children. #
Serjeant John Cable is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in Northern France.