Frederick Bishop

Captain Frederick Bishop of the 1/5th (Earl of Chester’s) (T.F.) Battalion, Chester Regiment, died of illness 1 on 21st February 1919, aged 31, in the Prince of Wales Hospital, Marylebone, and is buried at West Hill Cemetery in Winchester.

Frederick was born on the 21st November 1887 in Winchester, and baptised shortly afterwards. His parents were Henry and Rosa Bishop (sometimes known as Rose). Henry was also born in Winchester and Rosa came from Southampton. Frederick was the third boy in what was to become a large family of nine children.

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. At present we do not have sufficient information to fully understand what this means. There was an option to take a three year degree course at some Colleges and perhaps this had been Frederick’s intention. He did take 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 final 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 seems likely that it was a serious illness. Despite this Frederick was made Senior Prefect for his final year.

In his final year 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, 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.

His job in Chester would explain his choice of regiment when he enlisted, in the Cheshire Regiment, 5th Battalion in September 1914. His address at the time of his enlistment was given as 26, Saughall Road, Chester. He was promoted rapidly, first to Corporal and then by 20th March 1915 to Sergeant. 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.

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. Although he enlisted as a Private he was rapidly promoted.

It is not possible to say if Frederick was involved in all the actions that the Regiment was involved in thereafter but from that February they joined the 14th Brigade of the 5th Division. In July of that year, Frederick was 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 they were designated Pioneer Battalion of the 5th Division and in early 1916 they were transferred to the 56th Division as a Pioneer Battalion.

Frederick’s Military History Sheet records that he was serving at home from 9th September 1914 until 13th February 1915. From the 14th February 1915 he was part of the Expeditionary Force in France until 26th June 1915, the date when he was commissioned. His whereabouts after that date is less clear. We know from other records that he was in France for at least part of the time.

In 1916 the Regiment was involved in 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.2 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 Vaux3 on the Somme.

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 Staff-Captain 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 the Supplement to the London Gazette 20th May 1918, Frederick was again reported as being a Temporary Captain.

In August 1918 Frederick fell from his horse and was injured. The Report on accidental or self-inflicted injury states that he suffered a hernia,4 which was classified as moderately severe.

The exact origin of the rupture is, I believe, not known: it occurred during the war. Captain Bishop experienced considerable pain from it after a fall from his horse while reconnoitring in the face of the enemy near CROISILLES 5 last year.

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.

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. The Regimental Magazine also reports that he was twice mentioned in dispatches.

Just over a month later, on the 21st February, at The Prince of Wales’ Hospital in Marylebone, Frederick died, one of the many who succumbed to the virulent Spanish flu epidemic, although at present we have no documentary evidence of this.

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

  1. John Hartley’s original research determined that Frederick Bishop had died of influenza.
  2. 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.
  3. Vaux-sur-Somme is best known as the place where Baron Manfred Von Richthoven (the Red Baron) was shot down and killed.
  4. 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.
  5. Croisilles was a small village south east of Arras, near Bullecourt.

Ancestry (2018) Home page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2018]

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 [Accessed 2018]

Great War Forum, (2018). Home page. [online] Available at [Accessed 2018]

The Long Long Trail, (2018). Welcome to the long long trail. [online] Available at [Accessed 2018]


University of Winchester Archive – Hampshire Record Office
Reference code Record
47M91W/ P2/4 The Wintonian 1899-1900
47M91W/ P2/5 The Wintonian 1901-1902
47M91W/ P2/6 The Wintonian 1903-1904
47M91W/ P2/7 The Wintonian 1904-1906
47M91W/ P2/8 The Wintonian 1905-1907
47M91W/ P2/10 The Wintonian 1908-1910
47M91W/ P2/11 The Wintonian 1910-1914
47M91W/ P2/12 The Wintonian 1920-1925
47M91W/ D1/2 The Student Register
47M91W/ S5//5/10 Photograph of 5 alumni in Mesopotamia
47M91W/ Q3/6 A Khaki Diary
47M91W/ B1/2 Reports of Training College 1913-1914
47M91W/ Q1/5 Report and Balance Sheets 1904- 1949
47M91W/ R2/5 History of the Volunteers Company 1910
47M91W/ L1/2 College Rules 1920
Hampshire Record Office archive
71M88W/6 List of Prisoners at Kut
55M81W/PJ1 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.