Private 2697 Frederick (Fred) Williams. 1/5th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 158th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. Killed in action, 10 August 1915, Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, aged 21. No known grave. Commemorated panel 77 to 80, Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. Also commemorated on the Abergele War Memorial and Abergele Town Memorial.
Son of William and Mary Williams, of 14, Bryntirion Terrace, Abergele. Born Wrexham, enlisted Flint, lived Abergele. A Grocer’s Assistant in 1911. Enlisted early January 1915 with Trevor Roberts (Glasfryn). Brother of George Trevor Williams (killed in action 27 May 1918).
At first, following the events of 10 August, what had happened to Fred was not clear (for background details to the events of 10 August 1915 see here). The confusion which followed may have stemmed in part from the fact that he was reported as wounded on the day of landing at Suvla Bay on 9 August by an Abergele comrade in the 1/5th Battalion, David Evan Parry , which was not really possible. However, at the time, Parry’s news matched what Fred’s family were told when the War Office sent a letter that stated that he had been hospitalised in Alexandria.
A short while later, in the third week of September, Fred’s status was corrected and he was officially listed as ‘missing’. Anxious to have news of her son’s condition, and confused by the mixed messages, Fred’s mother wrote several times to the hospital but without response.
Fearful of Fred’s silence as well as the hospital’s, she wrote again to the War Office. At the very end of October 1915 the War Office replied that Fred was now listed as ‘wounded and missing in action’ and not, as previously stated, in a hospital in Alexandria.
The strain on his parents must have been intolerable, and it is impossible to imagine their reaction to a house visit by Reverend Jenkins, the Vicar of Abergele, on 20 December 1915. The Reverend Jenkins had just received a letter from his nephew, Lieutenant David Lewis Jenkins, who was an Officer in Fred’s battalion. Lieutenant Jenkins  stated that there was no doubt that Fred had been killed. The Vicar took it upon himself to inform the family of this news.
What probably made things worse for them was the fact the War Office were sticking to their claim that Fred was ‘wounded and missing in action’. Most of the men who had gone missing on 10 August, such as Tom Furnish and Johnny Vaughan of Abergele, were declared dead eleven months later, but this was not the case with Fred. He was still officially listed as ‘wounded and missing in action’ as late as June 1918 and one can only assume that the authorities had some evidence that Fred may have been taken prisoner by the Turks. At the end of the war a number of men were repatriated having been Turkish prisoners of war. Fred was not among them. His Medal Index Card has the words ‘presumed dead 10/8/15’ written on it.