Fred HAMPSON
Rank: Acting Corporal
Number: 18786
Unit: 12th Field Company ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 18 April 1917
Age: 27
Cemetery: Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, Pas de Calais, France

Fred's parents originated from Macclesfield but, by the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved to Bredbury, living at 7 Hyde Road. The eldest son, Frank, was already serving in the Royal Engineers as a regular soldier and, when Fred left school, he followed the same path, joining up in about 1909.

Fred was a fine athlete and had won an army 10 mile cross-country championship in South Africa in 1913 and 1914. He also successfully ran in shorter races, competing at ½ mile and mile races. He was also an excellent swimmer and held a life-saving certificate.

Just before War was declared in August 1914, Frank Hampson died of natural causes and is believed to be buried in Malta. Fred had returned from Empire garrison duties and was stationed somewhere in Britain or Ireland. The British 6th Division, of which the 12th Field Company was part, was brought together at Cambridge and went overseas on 10 September. Fred probably had time for a short trip back to Stockport to see the family now living at 169 Chatham Street, Edgeley (and later at 26 Chelmsford Road). They arrived in France just in time to go into action as reinforcements at the Battle of the Aisne. The Division was then withdrawn north into Flanders. Fred would not see major action again until September of 1915 at the Battle of Loos where he was wounded, although not severely.

On 18 April 1917, Fred and his mates were back near Loos undertaking work on the trenches at Les Brebis. It was a reasonably quiet day in this sector but not quiet enough as the records from the Company's War Diary shows "One NCO killed and 1 sapper mortally wounded by shellfire, the latter dying from wounds the following day". Lance Corporal Hampson was the NCO who had been killed. He will have been buried very close to where he died. This is unlikely to have been at Philosophe Cemetery which is some distance away. The Cemetery was extended after the Armistice when several very small front line burial areas were closed as the land was returned to civilian use. Fred's body was probably exhumed and re-interred at that time.

Fred's four surviving brothers also served in the army - William with the Medical Corps; Leonard with Army service Corps; Harry with the Shropshire Light Infantry and John with the Essex Regiment.

   
           
   
     
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