Company Quartermaster Sergeant Jones enlisted in the 17th Battalion on 23rd February 1915. This was during the drive for further recruitment when the Pals Battalions were seeking a fifth E Company. Recruitment was opened up to men with skills or trades suited to Army life. This was a significant extension to the original requirement of being a clerk or warehouseman. His Service Record helps build a picture of the men in his Battalion.
Arthur Bell recognised the importance of these men. “Throw a lot of clerks and countermen into a complex organisation like an army, with only a few ex-Boer War men, and where are you? No wonder an invitation was issued to bakers, candlestick-makers and coppers to join up.”
Frederick was an experienced carpenter, who had a reference provided by Peace V Norquoy Limited of New Islington Works, Union Street, Ancoats. He had been employed with them for five years and had earlier served in the Royal Navy.
At 37 years and six months, Frederick was much older than the average recruit; with the majority of recruits being single, it was also an exception for Frederick to be married with children. He had married Nellie Shutt at Weslyan Chapel, Grosvenor Street on 15th July 1905. The couple and three children, Wilfred, Doris & Frederick William, lived at 1 Roseneath Avenue, Levenshulme. His mother Mary Fox Jones lived at 12 The Crescent, Levenshulme with younger brother Harold Thomas and Sister Constance Gertrude Jones. The elder brother Edwin Ernest lived at Bramhall.
Previous military experience, maturity and his trade experience led to Frederick’s early promotion to the post of Pioneer Sergeant. He trained with XIV Platoon in D Company. The Battalion’s assault on Montauban led to significant losses, especially among the NCOs. Frederick was promoted CQMS on 1st July, as a replacement for one of these casualties.
CQMS Jones was Killed in Action on 29th or 30th July 1916, during the advance on Guillemont. He is buried in PERONNE ROAD CEMETERY, MARICOURT. Grave registration suggests he died on 29/7/1916, which could relate the evening before the assault on Guillemont when the Battalion moved up from Cambridge Copse and assembled between Bernafay and Trones Woods. Frederick had originally been buried close to the track leading to Carnoy from Maricourt and the southern end of Talus Bois. Therefore it’s possible he was killed in the initial assembly positions at Cambridge Copse. Alternatively he may have been wounded later and there may have been a Casualty Clearing Station close to his original burial place. SDGW specifies Killed in Action, rather than Died of Wounds, but these records are regularly inaccurate. Most initial 30th July burials were more than 1 mile to the north east.
Nellie received Frederick’s Effects in September 1917. This included a tobacco pouch, Cigarette Case, wrist watch, purse, pipe and pipe lighter. Nellie thought some items were missing. The War Office awarded her a Pension of 22/ per week in February 1917.
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Shrove Tuesday 1915, the 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment were marching through their City on a recruitment march. A year later they were sat in the trenches and mud on the Somme.
See Heaton Park, Manchester | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme. for 1915
Maricourt Defences – Somme | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme for 1916
For detailed Obituary See Arthur Evans Townsend
For more details of the early days in France, see Arrival and travel through France
Troops disembarking from the leave boat at Boulogne, 30 January 1918.© IWM (Q 6479)
An advance party had arrived in France on 7th November 1915. The core of the Battalion then left Larkhill in two trains from Amesbury to Folkestone on the following day. They crossed the Channel and spent the first night in Boulogne. It was raining heavily and despite the presence of tents everyone was “soaked through to the skin” (Bert Payne IWM).
This was the beginning of their Service on the Western Front. Almost one third of these men did not return Home.