Private Fred (Ernest Fredrick) Cleaver, First World War Memorial Board in Eydon Village Hall.
Fred Cleaver was another son of Thomas & Harriet Cleaver and elder brother to Ralph Cleaver (KL096) and presumably shared his poor upbringing. He enlisted at the start of the war and joined the 5th Battalion, the Northants Regiment, a pioneer battalion. They moved to the Western Front in May 1915 and were working at night on bridges near Ypres and later around Armentieres and Loos. It was at Loos, on Oct. 10th, 1915 that Fred was wounded. It is not clear if this injury lead to his death 3 years later as Syd Tyrrell says Fred Cleaver '...Fred not got the constitutional stamina to stand up to field warfare in all weathers,...'.
However, Fred was transferred to the new Labour Corps when it formed in February 1917 to supply labour to the Pioneer's and Royal Engineer's technical know how. It was known that many of the men serving in the companies were medically down graded former Pioneers. The Labour Corps expanded rapidly as shown by the fact that Fred was in the 436th Agricultural Coy., Labour Corps, at home (i.e. in Britain) when he died on Nov. 8th 1918, just days before the War itself ended.
He is interred in Eydon Graveyard and early photos show a metal cross with his Labour Corps details on it. This has subsequently been replaced by the standard Commonwealth War Graves Commission head stone which lists his regiment at the Northants Reg.
Photographer: Unknown professional
Image lent by : Dr Kevin Lodge
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