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FREDERICK GARDENER


Stoker 1st Class No. 281742, Howe Battalion, Royal Naval Division, Divisional Train. Formerly Royal Fleet Reserve.

Died 4th June 1915 aged 38.

Decorations: The 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal and The Victory medal.


Frederick was born in Thornbury, the son of Henry and Mary Gardener. He was brought up in Portskewett and settled down with his wife Rosa at Rose Cottage, Crick. This was only recently renovated in 1995. They had four children, Fred, Tim, Dorothy and Charles.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1898, bought himself out in 1905 and re-enrolled into the Reserve in 1910. He is remembered wearing naval uniform around Crick. When reservists were called up at the start of the War there was a shortage of ships so they were formed into Infantry Battalions named after the famous Admirals. The 'Marines' fought under naval ranks and wore khaki uniforms with a peak less cap, i.e. a khaki sailor’s cap.

Thus Frederick was pressed into the futile Dardanelles campaign to fight the Turks on the Gallipoli peninsula and he was killed in June 1915 at the age of 38. He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Helles memorial - along with 20,673 others who died there or in the waters round about. But for the War, Frederick would have been released from the Reserve 6 weeks before he was killed.

Life for the remaining family was very hard. They relied heavily on vegetables grown in the large front garden and Mrs Gardener is remembered picking stones in the fields above Crick to earn a few pence. However the family became well established in the district; young Fred was prominent in the Severn Tunnel Silver Band and Noel, Fred's son, played The Last Post at the unveiling of the Caerwent War Memorial in 1948. Frederick's widow moved back to Portskewett and lived to the age of 95 and there are many surviving family members in Portskewett and Caldicot.