Fred, Edward and Leonard Lee are three brothers commemorated on Cheadle memorial. A fourth brother, Harry, served with the 3rd Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps and was wounded on 23 September 1915 in France but survived the war.
They lived with their parents, William & Elizabeth, at 13 Platt Street, Cheadle The Stockport Advertiser in its edition of 8 October 1915, wrote about the family "The patriotism of the family is another shining example of Cheadle's share in providing young men for the defence of our King and country, but it is a pity for the mother that the only grant allowed by the Army Authorities is 9s per week for her husband. No allotment is made for the sons' service."
War was declared on 4 August 1914 and British troops first went in battle at Mons on 22 August. They were forced to retreat and, over the next two days, would fight a series of rearguard actions until they reached Le Cateau. Fred was a regular soldier and had mobilised with his Battalion arriving in France and going straight to the intended battle position. The plan was to stand and fight and deliver a "stopping blow" to the German advance.
Fred's Battalion arrived at high ground near Longsart Farm, between the villages of Haucourt and Wambaix at 3.45am and were ordered to dig themselves in to shallow trenches. They had done this by 5.45am. At about the same time, German machine gun fire opened up on them, but there was still no sight of the enemy. Fire was returned in the general direction of the Germans.
By 8am, the Germans had started to attack the right flank of the battalion and then started to move behind to cut it off. "A" and "D" companies now retired to the cover of a nearby hedge. It was probably around this time that Fred was killed. A comrade later wrote to the family saying that he had seen him fighting in the trenches but then had lost sight of him when he himself had been wounded.
Later in the day, several small scale counter attacks were mounted but the Battalion was ordered to withdraw. The new line was very heavily shelled causing many casualties. The men dispersed with no real officer control. Major Griffin assembled those he could muster on the road to Selvigny and a further retreat was ordered.
A total of 772 British soldiers died that day. One of them, James Bailey, is also remembered on the Cheadle War Memorial. He and Fred were the first men from the Cheadle & Gatley area to lose their lives. Fred's body was never recovered and identified. Three other Stockport men lost their lives fighting alongside Fred in the Fusiliers - William Kitchen, John Mannion and James Street. None have a known grave.