Killed in Battle of Ypres attack

The long Third Battle of Ypres took a huge toll, including men from Grangetown, over a four month period in 1917.

Frederick Clargo was one of them, aged 20. He was the son of Charles Clargo, a master butcher, who lived at 112 Paget Street and had a shop in James Street in the Docks. His father's business failed in 1902, after a drop in trade caused by the recession, when Frederick was five. Frederick's mother died when he was 12 and two years later he was lodging with two of his siblings with a neighbouring family in Corporation Road, working as a message boy. There are family stories that Frederick's father had developed a drink problem.

He first joined the Royal Field Artillery but after his battalion sustained losses he joined the Lancashire Fusiliers, first with the 15th Battalion and secondly with the 17th.

Almost exactly a month before he was killed, he wrote to his older brother Charles "in case you should be worrying about me". He hadn't quite reached his battalion at this point and described being "as sick as a dog" during the rough Channel crossing.

Frederick was part of a big attack north of Poelcappelle, in the Egypt House sector of the front line. The day before, Frederick and his regiment lay in shell holes and hid from enemy aircraft. The line east of Marechal Farm on the map above was their first objective on October 22nd. At zero hour - 5.35am - the attack began, platoons moving in four waves, with an artillery barrage behind them. After initial successes, the attack's right flank became vulnerable and German artillery began to train on the new positions, while machine guns and snipers were also busy that afternoon. Large numbers of wounded had to be left out until night as it was too dangerous to reach them, while men received rations of rum "the value of which can be understood when it is realised they had lain all day in shell holes up to their waists in water," wrote Lt Col Francis John Fielding Crook in the battalion diary.

A total 35 others were killed from his battalion and 142 injured that day - by the time relief came at midnight; it was a fierce battle which lasted more than 12 hours and then continued for a couple more days. Men were said to be so exhausted "by frightful conditions of wet and cold" that they could scarcely get out of the trenches when they were eventually relieved.

Like many of his comrades, the shocking conditions meant Frederick's remains were never recovered. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot memorial at Ypres, on the Grangetown war memorial and the Grangetown Baptist Church plaque.

Thanks to Gill Foode, Frederick's great niece

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