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An abandoned German trench in Delville Wood, September 1916
Abandoned German trench in Delville Wood
image: Imperial War Musem catalogue number Q 4267
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Sherwood, Frederick

Frederick Sherwood
1914-1915 Star
1914/15 Star
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Private Frederick Sherwood (11800)
Died of Wounds on Monday 30th April 1917
Battle of Arleux, aged 20
Son of Arthur & Emily Sherwood
Father's occupation: Corn Merchant's Carman
Born Q1 1897 at Stud Green
3 sisters, 3 brothers, position in family: 2
Local address: 21 Brook Street, Twyford
Enlisted:Reading, Tuesday 1st September 1914
Regiment:Royal Berkshire
Battalion:1st Bn.
Previous unit:2nd Bn Berkshires
Went overseas:Sunday 29th November 1914
Died:Monday 30th April 1917
Cause:Died of Wounds
Action:Battle of Arleux
Battalion at:Bailleul
Commemorated:Grave at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension

Frederick Sherwood was born at White Waltham in 1897 to Arthur and Emily Sherwood. He was their second child and had an older sister and a younger brother. Frederick's father was a general labourer and by 1901 Frederick and his family were living in Cox Green near Maidenhead.

In 1911 Frederick was living in Brook Street, Twyford, with his parents and his younger brothers and sisters. He was working as a domestic house boy.

Frederick was still resident in Twyford when he enlisted into the army at Reading on 1st September 1914. He was initially assigned to 2nd Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and subsequently transferred to 1st Battalion. Frederick went to France on 29th November 1914 but nothing is known of his wartime experience over the next two years.

During this time 1st Battalion had spent many months in the trenches and in 1916 they also participated in the attack on Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme. In early 1917 they were back on the Somme, relieving 13th Battalion of the Essex Regiment in the trenches at Courcelette. Their stint on the front line passed quietly and then the Battalion was withdrawn to Ovillers where they provided working parties and also undertook a trench raid.

On 17th February 1917 the Battalion supported an attack on the village of Serre by carrying forward ammunition and supplies to the new positions. This was followed up on 10th March with an attack on the Grevillers Trench. On this occasion the Battalion led the offensive along with 1st King's Royal Rifles. For the rest of the month the Battalion was out of the trenches undergoing training and performing fatigues, before moving north towards Arras.

On 11th April they resumed trench duties at Roclincourt and three days later they relieved 23rd Royal Fusiliers in front of Bailleul. They subsequently had a short stint in the trenches north of Bailleul, being relieved on the evening of 26th April. The Battalion spent the next two days in Roclincourt before being called forward to attack Oppy Wood as part of an offensive that became known as the Battle of Arleux. The Battalion War Diary describes the action:

1st Royal Berkshire
Saturday 28th April 1917ROCLINCOURT TRENCHES
2 a.m. D Company moved to, and came under orders of 1st King's Royal Rifle Corps.
4.25 a.m. 5th and 6th Brigades attacked OPPY and trench system N and S of the village. 99th Brigade were in reserve.
7.30 a.m. 20 Other Ranks proceeded to ANZIN to assist 100th Field Ambulance in evacuating wounded.
5 a.m. to 3 p.m. 3 Officers and 85 Other Ranks stood by for use as emergency stretcher bearers but were not called upon.
1 p.m. Battalion moved forward to position in vicinity of A.24.b.66
3 p.m. Orders were received to prepare for an attack on OPPY WOOD and vicinity that night. The time for the attack was eventually put forward to 4 a.m.
9 p.m. The Battalion - less D Company - moved forward by companies and relieved units of 6th Brigade in the front line, which was the same as that held previous to the attack. Relief complete 1 a.m. 29/4/17
Sunday 29th April 1917France, FRONT LINE EAST OF BAILLEUL
4 a.m. Battalion - less D Company - with troops on either flank attacked and captured the OPPY LINE from B.18.d.57 to B.18.b.28. The troops on our right failed to get in and the right flank was consequently exposed. At about 5 a.m. the enemy commenced to bomb the right flank and fighting continued until about 10 a.m., when owing to lack of bombs and small arms ammunition we were forced to give way, and withdrew to the "jumping off" trench via SUNKEN ROAD in B.18.b. C Company on the left withdrew northwards along the OPPY LINE and placed themselves under the orders of the 17th ROYAL FUSILIERS, establishing a block at about B.12.d.14 taking with them 3 captured machine guns. The enemy shelled our front line heavily throughout the remainder of the day and there was a great deal of Machine Gun and rifle fire. Patrols were sent out at dusk and found the OPPY LINE still held by the enemy.
11 p.m. The Battalion was relieved by the 13th EAST YORKS and returned to the trenches E of ROCLINCOURT through a barrage of gas shells without sustaining any casualties.
About 70 prisoners and 3 Machine guns were captured by the Battalion during the day and severe casualties were inflicted on the enemy.
Officers. Killed 2/Lt M A SIMON. Wounded and Missing. 2/Lt H A GIBBS, 2/Lt E C READY. Wounded. CAPT V G STOKES, CAPT E L JERWOOD, 2/Lt A P AVELINE, 2/Lt G M ARCHDALE.
Other ranks. Killed 15. Wounded 89. Missing 47.

There were a total of 151 casualties out of the 250 men who actually attacked. Frederick Sherwood was one of the men wounded during the action and he was probably evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station behind the lines. Frederick died of his wounds on 30th April 1917; he was twenty years of age. Frederick now rests in the Aubigny Cemetery about 15 miles from where he fell. He had served in France for just one year.


Frederick Sherwood at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension
Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon