Fred William Wyatt, Private 1291, 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
Killed in action 25th May 1915 in Gallipoli, Turkey, aged 25
Fred William Wyatt was baptised at St Johns Church, Macclesfield on September 17th 1890, the son of Martha and Frederick Wyatt, a Railway Porter of 106 Brown Street. The 1891 census reveals that 106 Brown Street was also the home of Martha’s brother, nephew and widowed mother, and Martha was employed as a charwoman.
Fred’s sister, Ada, was baptised at St John’s Church, Macclesfield in January 1893 and his father Frederick was then a Foreman Porter. At some time after Ada’s birth, the family moved to Wigan in Lancashire and Frederick died there in September 1900.
In 1901, the widowed Martha was living at Great Central Railway, Darlington Street East, Wigan, with Fred and Ada, and her nephew and sister-in-law. Martha remarried in 1903, her new husband being Hugh Paton or Payton.
In May 1907, at the age of 17, Fred attested at Wigan, joining the 5th Lancashire Fusiliers as a Militiaman for a term of 6 years, mistakenly stating that he was born in Wigan. At that time he was working as a miner at Abram, near Wigan, for Mr Thomas Mitchell, of 423 Warrington Road, Abram. In his service records, Fred stated that his next of kin were his mother, Martha Paton, and sisters Ada and Elizabeth Wyatt, all living at 24 Darlington Street East, Wigan. Fred was described as being 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighing 116 pounds, with a 32½ inch chest, fresh complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair.
In 1911, Fred was a Corporal with the Lancashire Fusiliers at Wellington Barracks, Bury.
Fred’s six year term of service should have expired in 1913, but he must have re-enlisted, joining the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, who were stationed at Karachi in India on the outbreak of war.
The Battalion embarked for England in December 1914, arriving at Avonmouth on 2nd January 1915. They went to Nuneaton to join the 86th Brigade of the 29th Division, and on 16th March embarked for Gallipoli, travelling via Alexandria and Mudros.
The 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers took part in the ‘W’ beach landing at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915. Despite heavy losses, they took the beach, earning “six VCs before breakfast” in the process; the beach was later renamed Lancashire Landing in their honour. Just one month later, on 25th May 1915, Fred was killed in action.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Courier of 21st August 1915:
“News has been received in Macclesfield of the death of Private F. W. Wyatt, of the 1st Batt. Lancashire Fusiliers, which occurred in action in the Dardanelles on May 25th. Private Wyatt was 25 years of age and had been in the army eight years. At the outbreak of war his regiment was in India and he returned with them early in the present year, and was for a short time stationed at Nuneaton. They then left for Egypt, and from there they were drafted to the Dardanelles. He wrote only one short letter from there, and the next tidings that was heard of him was that he was dead.
Private Wyatt was the grandson of Mr. T. Wyatt, of 69 Coare Street, Macclesfield, with whom he had resided for many years prior to enlisting in the Army.”
Private Fred William Wyatt is known to be buried at Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey, and he is commemorated on Special Memorial C. 412.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Fred William Wyatt, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.