Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society

Frederick William BREEZE

Corporal 265047

1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment

Killed in Action 31st July 1917 aged 36

Born in Stanstead Abbotts 1881 he moved to Burford Place, Hoddesdon where he lived with his parents William and Mary Ann, plus one brother and five sisters according to the 1891 census.  By 1901 they had moved to Amwell Street in Hoddeson, but by 1911 the had moved again, this time to Salisbury Road in Rye Park, Hoddesdon, where his father was working as a house painter while Frederick was a nurseryman.

He had joined the Territorial Army on 7th April 1908 aged 26 for a period of four years, in the 1st Hertfordshire Battalion, his service number was then 871.  He re-engaged on 16th November 1911 at the age of 30.  At the 1914 Territorial summer camp the whole battalion was ‘embodied’ for war service and sent for training at Bury St Edmunds. On 5th October 1914 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and his unit went to France on 15th June1915.  During the remainder of the year he spent some time away from his unit, including a spell back in England in hospital where he was thought to have tuberculosis, re-joining his unit in August 1916.  By then they had taken part in the Somme campaign.

On 14th November 1916 at the Battle of the Ancre they achieved a notable success, when with their advance covered by a heavy artillery bombardment and thick mist they captured the whole of the enemy Hansa defence line.  They advanced 1600 yards and captured 250 enemy prisoners, they carried all their objectives and held the captured position until relieved the following night.  They spent the first part of 1917 holding part of the line near Ypres and in July began training for their next big action, the 3rd Battle of Ypres.  On 31st July they advanced towards enemy positions on Pilkem Ridge, the battalion suffered heavy casualties from machine gun fire, when they reached the enemy lines they found the wire almost untouched by the heavy artillery bombardment, and were forced to retire under heavy shelling and German counter attacks.  Every officer in the battalion was a casualty along with 459 other ranks, one of whom was Frederick.  

His body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal