Captain Frederick Bishop of the 1/5th (Earl of Chester’s) (T.F.) Battalion, Chester Regiment, died of illness1 on 21st February 1919, aged 31, in the Prince of Wales Hospital, Marylebone, and is buried at West Hill Cemetery in Winchester.
In 1891, Henry was employed as a servant at the public school, Winchester College. They were living at 7, St.Swithun Street, Winchester.
7, St. Swithun St, Winchester photograph by Dee Sayers
Frederick aged 3, had two elder brothers, Alfred (7) and Herbert (5), and twin younger brothers Ernest and Reginald aged 1. All of the children had been born in Winchester. By 1901 the family had moved away from Winchester and were living at 11 Highcliffe Road in Chilcomb, Hampshire. Henry was employed as a butler. Alfred was no longer living with the family and Herbert was employed as a hairdresser. In the intervening ten years there had been more additions to the family, Leonard 9, Ethel 6, Charles 4, and Winifred aged 2 months. Alfred had joined the Royal Navy and was serving on the Duke of Wellington as a 3rd Writer.
Frederick began his education at St Thomas’ Boys’ School in Winchester before becoming a pupil at Peter Symonds Grammar School in Winchester. The headmaster was Telford Varley, a larger than life character who was appointed in 1897 and ordained in 1906, and he finally retired in 1926. One of his idiosyncratic punishments for boys who slouched, was to make them parade around like a hobbledehoy until being told to assume the attitude of a gentleman.
After leaving Peter Symonds School, Frederick returned to St Thomas’ to undergo a period of initial training as a pupil teacher, before becoming an assistant teacher there for six months. In 1905 he was awarded a 1st Class pass in his Preliminary Examination for admission to the course at Winchester Training College as well as a 1st Class in the Archbishops’ Admission Examination. Before entering College Frederick was examined in blackboard, model, perspective, light and shade, and geometry drawing. He also gained a Matriculation 1st Class pass in Chemistry.
In 1906 Frederick began two years of study at Winchester Training College. He must have made a good impression on his fellow Junior Students, as at the first major social event of the year, a welcome concert, Frederick was chosen to give the speech on behalf of his classmates.
There is an interesting note in the class record list for 1907, the end of Frederick’s first year. He is not classified in the College results section of the list, but instead he is included in a group of three students who did not take the college examination as they were University Students. Frederick did take some of the papers but only a small number, achieving an average grade of 85.1% for the exams he did take. There was an option to take a three year degree course at some Colleges and this had been Frederick’s intention, although ultimately illness prevented him from completing the three year course. He took the Archbishop’s Examination at the end of his first year, gaining the top mark for his year group. In the class list for his second year he was again listed as a University student, this time it is accompanied by the word Arts in brackets.
In his time at college, he played football in the inter-college competition, for the Athenians, sang in the end of year Farewell Concert, and debated on the topic of corporal punishment. The majority of those attending believed, as Frederick had argued, that corporal punishment was necessary. His prowess as a marksman was noted, with him winning the top marksman award and being promoted to Lance Corporal in the Volunteer Company. He became sub-editor of the college magazine, The Wintonian, becoming editor in his Senior year. We learn though that Frederick had to give up that job as he was unwell. The nature of his illness is never disclosed, but as it is mentioned on more than one occasion, it could have been a recurring condition. Despite this Frederick was made Senior Prefect for his final year.
In his end of course examinations he was awarded A Grades in Reading, Recitation, Teaching, and Music, and a B for Drawing. He was exempted from the Science exam. Whatever the illness that Frederick suffered whilst at College, it resulted in him being unfit to take his examinations in his second year. He was awarded an aegrotat, an exam pass awarded to a student who was too ill to attend an examination. We have to assume that the work that Frederick had done in College prior to his illness was of sufficient merit.
By 1911 Frederick was living in Aylesbury. His family remained in Winchester, where his sister Ethel was training as a pupil teacher. Frederick was living as a boarder in the house of Mr John Deans, an iron founder, at 5, Queen’s Park, Aylesbury. Frederick was, by then, an assistant teacher, employed by the County Council in the Church Schools Aylesbury.
After Frederick had left college news of his achievements continued to be reported in The Wintonian:
Men of 1906-1908 will be glad to learn that their Senior Prefect, Mr F Bishop, has been appointed to an Assistantship in the Chester Training College Practising School. That he has thoroughly recovered his health is indicated by the fact that while working in Aylesbury CS he succeeded in passing his Inter-Art Examination with 2nd Class Honours in English, also the Teachers’ Higher Examination of the Education Handwork Union, with distinction for special excellence, which qualifies him to teach in all Primary and Secondary Classes and in Training Courses for teachers.
Chester Diocesan Training College was the first purpose-built Teacher Training College in the country. In 1900 the Practising school was opened on the campus. The School Log Book tells us that Frederick commenced his duties at the school on 25th September 1911.
The Principal of Chester Training College, to which the Practising School was attached, was the Rev. R. A.Thomas who had previously been Vice-Principal at Winchester Training College during the period that Frederick was a student there. We do not know if he had sought out Frederick and encouraged him to apply for a job at the school or if Frederick had heard of his appointment and then decided to apply to Chester.
The Log Book gives us a few details of his time as a teacher there. On 10th June of his second year at the school, Frederick’s timetable was changed , relieving him of teaching 3 French lessons each week, lessening somewhat the irksomeness of having to take 17 lessons per week in the same subject. On 1st July 1912 Frederick led a school excursion to Liverpool. During the Summer break in 1912 the Log Book reports that Frederick had spent a profitable month in France studying French phonetics under ‘a Parisienne in France’. Towards the end of August, Mr George Tap, from Nemtes Lycée, visited the school and listened to a French lesson taken by Frederick, although sadly we do not have a record of his opinion on Frederick’s lesson. In June of 1913 there was another excursion to Liverpool, this time described as a ramble, with a ‘score of boys’.
Health problems afflicted Frederick again in September 1913, as the Log Book reports that he left school at 9 a.m. to consult a doctor about sleeplessness and continual headaches, returning by 9.40 a.m.. Frederick must have returned to the family home for the Christmas break as there is an entry explaining that Frederick was confined to bed in Winchester.
In May 1914 the school was visited by Mr Tryhorn, an HMI, who talked over several things with him. The HMI was particularly interested in Manual Training. In May 1914 Frederick requested, and was granted, permission for extra drill. His military records have no entry for any involvement in a Territorial Force unit whilst in Chester, so it is most likely that this refers to a school activity. Both Physical Education and Military Training exercises were called ‘Drill’ in schools.2
The remaining references to Frederick in the school log book after September 1914, no longer relate to classroom issues. On 9th September 1914, it notes that Mr Bishop left school at 9:15 a.m. to enrol in HM Forces, and that he was absent in the afternoon. On 30th October the school bade farewell to Frederick. Although Frederick’s life now took a different course, he retained his ties with the Chester Practising School. There are entries in the log book about visits that Frederick made in May 1916 and July 1917. An obituary in The Cheshire Observer on Saturday 22nd February 1919 mentions one return visit that Frederick made to the school:
His death and a Memorial Service held at the school are also documented in the log book. It is interesting to note that a report in the Liverpool Daily Post, from Wednesday 14th October 1914, outlines the Chester Education Committee’s plan to make sure that their teachers who had enlisted would not find themselves out of pocket. Frederick was one of four teachers mentioned in the article which goes on to say; ‘it was unanimously resolved that their military service be recognised as an equivalent to service in school for the purposes of salary with no loss of position or emoluments, but with such remuneration as with the pay they receive from the Government will make up their full salary, and that they be reinstated on their return’.
His job in Chester would explain his choice of regiment when he enlisted, as a Private, in the Cheshire Regiment, 5th (Earl of Chester’s) Battalion in September 1914. His attestation form gives his height as 5ft 10½ inches, and his medical form tells us that he had a chest measurement of 38 inches with an expansion of 2½ inches. His physical development was good and his vision normal. The Principal of Chester College, Rev Thomas, had vouched for his moral character. His address at the time of his enlistment was given as 26, Saughall Road, Chester. The Battalion War Record tells us:
From Shrewsbury the Battalion moved on August 22nd to Church Stretton, and then in January 1915 orders were received for the Battalion to move to Cambridge to equip for Foreign Service, where they stayed until 14th February.
From Frederick’s Medal Card Record we can see that he entered the Theatre of War in February 1915 when the 1/5th (Earl of Chester’s) Battalion, Territorial Force, Cheshire Regiment, landed at Le Havre. In February they joined the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division. Frederick was promoted rapidly, first to Corporal and then by 20th March 1915 to Sergeant.
The 5th Cheshires were involved in the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. In July of that year, Frederick was listed in the Supplement to the London Gazette of 7th July, as being promoted to Second Lieutenant dated from 26th June 1915, and in the Supplement of the Gazette of 8th March 1916, he was reported to be Temporary Lieutenant from 24th November 1915. In November 1915 the unit was designated Pioneer Battalion of the 5th Division and in early 1916 it was transferred to the 56th Division as a Pioneer Battalion.3
Frederick’s Military History Sheet records that he was serving at home from 9th September 1914 until 13th February 1915. From then he was part of the Expeditionary Force in France until 26th June1915, the date when he was commissioned. In 1916 the Regiment was involved in the campaign on the Somme, including the Diversionary attack at Gommecourt, the Battles of Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette, Morval and the Transloy Ridge.
In the Supplement to the London Gazette of 15th June 1916 Frederick was given the rank of Temporary Captain. On August 29th 1916 he was appointed Adjutant.4 Prior to this appointment he had been a Scout Officer and, in the Regimental Magazine The Oak Leaf at the time of his death, it was reported that he had done exceptionally good work while the Battalion was holding the marshes at Vaux on the Somme5. As an Adjutant, Frederick would have been based at the Field Headquarters, which moved with the Battalion but were further back from the front line. The Roll of Honour in The War Record of the 1/5th (Earl of Chester’s) Battalion, gives the dates that Frederick served abroad as an Officer from 23rd April 1916 to 13th November 1916. This may be rather misleading as it is very unlikely that he would have been able to carry out his duties as an Adjutant, and then, later a Divisional Staff Officer, unless he was serving at the field Headquarters.
In 1917 the Regiment was involved in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, the Battle of Langemarck and the captures of Tadpole Copse and Bourlon Wood and The German Counter attacks. On 6th November 1917 Frederick was appointed to be one of two Staff-Captains6 to the 169 Infantry Brigade, a position he held until the time of his death. 1918 saw the Regiment in the 1st Battle of Arras, and the Battles of Albert, the Scarpe, the Canal du Nord and Cambrai. They were also involved in the Pursuit to the Selle and the Battle of the Sambre and the Passage of the Grand Honelle. In August 1918 Frederick fell from his horse and was injured while reconnoitring in the face of the enemy near Croiselles.7 The Report on accidental or self-inflicted injury states that he suffered a hernia,8 which was classified as moderately severe. After the accident, Frederick was treated by the 2/3rd (London) Field Ambulance.
On 11th November, 1918, they ended their war at Athis, north of Bavrai in Belgium.
The Regimental Magazine tells us that he was twice mentioned in despatches, reported in The London Gazette on 15th June 1916, and again on the 20th May 1918. On the 1st January 1919, in the New Year’s Honours List, Frederick was awarded the Military Cross. The fact that it was in the Honours List makes it likely that this was a reward for meritorious service rather than a particular act of gallantry.
Just over a month later, on the 21st February 1919, at The Prince of Wales’ Hospital in Marylebone, Frederick died, one of the many who succumbed to the virulent Spanish flu epidemic. The evidence for this is to be found in the Chester Practising School Log Book, with an entry on 20th February 1919 recording that Mr Bishop had died in a London Hospital from influenza. On the 26th February a Memorial service for him was held at the school. An obituary in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer (Monday 24th February 1919), described Frederick as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General at the time of his death. This was a Grade 2 Staff Officer position equivalent to the rank of Major.9 This makes Frederick the highest ranking officer of our 60 Fallen.
Two of Frederick’s brothers also saw war service. Herbert William served as a Private in the Devonshire Regiment and then with the Royal Flying Corps, and Charles served as a Wireless Telegraphist in the Royal Engineers in Palestine. Both survived the war.10
His probate record shows that he left £1,122 15s 9d, and his medals, to his father Henry Bishop, now the Senior Porter at Winchester College Public School, living at 33,Trinity Terrace, North Walls, Winchester. Probate records the address incorrectly as number 35. His military records show that he had been overpaid £8 6s 8d of staff pay in the month after his death. This was duly repaid. He is buried in the West Hill Cemetery in Winchester, just outside of the gates of what was his Teacher Training College.
Researcher and Author: Dee Sayers
- John Hartley’s original research in the School Log Book of Chester Practising School determined that Frederick Bishop had died of influenza.
- Hansard records that on 30th March 1900, Sir J. Fergusson (Manchester, N.E.), wanted To call attention to the importance of instructing physical and military drill for boys in all State-aided or rate-aided schools, and to more, that it is highly expedient for the physical and moral development of the youth of the country, and that it would conduce to national defence, that boys of school age should be regularly instructed in physical and military drill.’ Although this refers solely to boys, girls also had drill as part of the curriculum, but this would have been the name given to physical exercise routines rather than military training. In a history of Swathling Council School in Southampton it was reported that while the boys walked to the Common once a week for Games and used the local Public Baths for swimming, the girls stayed behind at school for voice training and drill. Swedish Drill, invented at the turn of the 19th Century by Pehr Henrik Ling, was the use of a series of set exercises to improve fitness, flexibility and posture, had become a popular form of physical training in schools and Colleges.
- During the Great War a Pioneer Battalion was primarily used to assist in the construction of field fortifications, military camps, bridges, roads and railways. Each Division was allocated a Pioneer Battalion, although in practice it did not always work out that way.
- An adjutant is a military term for an officer who acts as an administrative assistant to a senior officer. He is designated as a Staff Officer and will help with the unit administration.
- Vaux-sur-Somme is best known as the place where Baron Manfred Von Richthoven (the Red Baron) was shot down and killed.
- A Staff Officer was a personal assistant to a Commander. It was largely an administrative and problem-solving’ role. Coombs states that modern .. Staff Officers look ahead, attempt to foresee what is to come and organise their services for the roles that they will be assigned by government. In this fashion they remove the burden of minutia from military commanders in order to allow those leaders to guide and manage their forces. The earliest iteration of the British Army Staff Manual from 1912 exhorted staff officers to act in concert with the wishes of their commander. (Coombs, G.H.( 2012) The importance of professional military Education, p.3. Available online).
- The record seems to suggest it was an inguinal hernia, which is the most common type. It can appear as a swelling or lump in the groin, or as an enlarged scrotum.
- Croisilles was a small village south east of Arras, near Bullecourt.
- It is important to stress that there is no record of Frederick being promoted to the rank of Major and his position merely carried that rank equivalence.
- Best, J. (2018). Debt of honour. Gloucester: Hobnob Press.
Best, J. (2018). Debt of honour. Gloucester: Hobnob Press.
Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. (2019). British Newspaper Archive, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Monday 24 February 1919. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000687/19190224/185/0009 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2019].
Coombs, G.H.( 2012) The importance of professional military Education, p.3. Available online
Rose, M. (1981) A history of King Alfred’s College, Winchester 1840-1980. London: Phillimore
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, (2018). Home page. [online] Available at www.cwgc.org/ [Accessed 2018]
Great War Forum, (2018). Home page. [online] Available at www.greatwarforum.org [Accessed 2018]
The Long Long Trail, (2018). Welcome to the long long trail. [online] Available at http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/ [Accessed 2018]
|University of Winchester Archive “ Hampshire Record Office
|The Wintonian 1899-1900
|The Wintonian 1901-1902
|The Wintonian 1903-1904
|The Wintonian 1904-1906
|The Wintonian 1905-1907
|The Wintonian 1908-1910
|The Wintonian 1910-1914
|The Wintonian 1920-1925
|The Student Register
|Photograph of 5 alumni in Mesopotamia
|A Khaki Diary
|Reports of Training College 1913-1914
|Report and Balance Sheets 1904- 1949
|History of the Volunteers Company 1910
|College Rules 1920
|Hampshire Record Office archive
|List of Prisoners at Kut
|Managers’ Minute Book 1876-1903
|All material referenced as 47M91W/ is the copyright of The University of Winchester. Permission to reproduce photographs and other material for this narrative has been agreed by the University and Hampshire Record Office.