The MARTIN family – Private Martin, Frederick William (1893-1918)

Frederick William Martin was born at 44 Hinckley Road in December 1893, the youngest son of the son of John Charles Bowmar Martin (1853-1931) and Hannah Shardlow (1852-1936).  He was baptised at St Paul’s on 18th January 1894.  John was a machinist in 1894, head foreman at a shoe factory in 1901 and a coal agent at a retail coal office in 1911.  Frederick had two brothers – Arthur Edward (1885-1961) and Albert Claude (1891-1972) and two sisters Ada Hannah (1879-1960) and Mabel Fanny (1895-1921).  The family lived at 108 Nedham Street in 1901 and in 1910 they moved to 51 Stretton Road.

After leaving school Frederick worked as a clerk in an insurance office.  He attested into the 1st Kings Own Scottish Borderers, then joined the 10th Entrenching Battalion (a temporary unit from which drafts of replacements could be drawn by conventional infantry battalions) and finally the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Glasgow), Highland Light Infantry – often known by its original title of the Glasgow Tramways Battalion.  This battalion was in action on the Somme in 1917 and 1918.  Frederick was killed in action on 3rd April 1918 in Pas de Calais and is buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetery, which was close to the front line.

At his death Frederick had personal effects of £13 15s 7d held with the regiment, sent to his brothers Arthur and Albert – also later a war gratuity of £6 to them.  Neither seems to have fought in the war and both remained in Leicester for the remainder of their lives.  Frederick had also written a will in August 1917, giving his address as 40 Gaul Street which was where his parents then lived.  He made a number of bequests: His silver watch, silver cigarette case, Gladstone bag and silver match box case were left to nephews.  Frederick’s bible and “the remainder of my earthly possessions” were left to his mother.  His gold ‘Albert’ watch was bequeathed to Mabel Hercock (1894-1982) who may have been his sweetheart.  Mabel was a dressmaker and the daughter of a coal merchant’s carter, which is perhaps how they knew each other.

Parents John and Hannah lived on at 6 Gaul Street, moving along the road to number 36 by 1931 when John Charles died.  Hannah died in 1936 living at 9 Clarefield Road.  Both are buried at Welford Road Cemetery.

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