Fred had been born in Marple, the son of Fanny and Walter Pickford. The 1901 Census records that Walter had been born in New Brighton and was working as a wheelwright, then aged 40. Fanny was from Poynton and was also aged 40.
The Census also records the details of Fred’s brothers and sisters, all of whom were older than him – Walter (20), also a wheelwright; Mary (16), a cotton weaver; John (15) a junior clerk; Kate (10) and Raymond (7).
Fred used to attend the Marple Union Mission Church and, as a boy, had attended the church’s Sunday School. He worked at the munitions works at Hyde and, in his spare time, had been band leader of the Marple Company of the 5th battalion of the Cheshire Volunteers. He was a member of the Marple Recreation Club.
By 1918, most recruits to the army were conscripts, but Fred had decided to give up his job and signed on as a regular soldier.
Raymond was killed in action on 8 October 1918 but it is not known if Fred would have heard the news by the time he was killed. He had only been in France for two weeks and his first and last major action is described here. He survived the fighting of the 23 October, only to be wounded in the groin when the Battalion was being relieved from the front line. He was evacuated to either 38 or 45 Casualty Clearing Station at Awoingt where nothing could be done to save his life.
Further information about Fred, including a photograph, is included in the book “Remembered” by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.