Fred Wheelton, Able Seaman R/4422, Hood Bn. R.N. Div., Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Died of wounds 3rd January 1918 in France, aged 34
Son of Charles and Hannah Mary Wheelton, of Macclesfield; husband of Gertrude Wheelton, of 88, Windmill St., Macclesfield.
Fred attested on 11 December 1915 and was mobilised and sent for training at the end of June 1917. Four months later, on 30 October, Fred was drafted to France.
On 2 January 1918 Fred was badly wounded, having a shrapnel wound in his left hand and compound fractures of both legs. He was taken to the 149th Field Ambulance Station, where he was given 500 units of Anti-Tetanus Serum, and then transferred to the 48th Casualty Clearing Station at Ytres (south-west of Cambrai) where he died of his wounds the following morning. His death was reported briefly in the Macclesfield Times on 11 January; this was followed by an obituary in the Macclesfield Times on 25 January:
DIED OF WOUNDS
Mrs Wheelton, 88 Windmill St, Macclesfield, has received official confirmation… that her husband, Able-Seaman Fred Wheelton, Royal naval Division, died on January 3rd of wounds sustained in action in France. The sad tidings were first conveyed in the following letter from the Matron of the hospital: “Your husband was admitted here on January 2nd, suffering from a compound fracture of the left leg and multiple wounds in the right leg. He succumbed to his injuries at 8am today (Jan. 3rd) You may rest assured we did all in our power for him, and he was in good hands. His death came very peacefully, and he did not suffer in the least.”
Able-Seaman Wheelton was thirty-four years of age and he leaves three children. As a boy he was educated at St Paul’s Day School, and he was connected with St Peter’s Church, being a member of the Men’s Reading Room. Able-Seaman Wheelton was formerly employed at Sutton Brewery, and prior to going there was engaged for fourteen years with Messrs Armstrong and Whitworth’s Openshaw. He enlisted on June 29 1917, and was drafted out to France last October.
Mrs Wheelton has two brothers serving in the Army, Signaller Harold Rothwell, Ches Regt (in Egypt) and Lance-Corpl. Charles Rothwell, who is serving in Italy as a signaller with the Cheshires. Harold was at the Landing at Suvla Bay in August 1915, an Charles has seen active service in France.
Able Seaman Fred Wheelton is buried in grave ref. IX. D. 9. in the Rocquigny-Equancourt British Cemetery in Somme, France. His wife asked for the inscription A DEVOTED HUSBAND AND FATHER to be added to his headstone.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Able Seaman Fred Wheelton, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Another Macclesfield man named Fred Wheelton served with the Cheshire Regiment and died on 26 April 1915.
MH106: WWI Representative Selection of Military Hospitals Admissions and Discharge Registers (Forces War Records): MH106/252 First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen from 149th Field Ambulance
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 25 January 1918, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)