In the late summer of 1892, Frank Fitchett, a leather cutter, and Florence Williamson married in the Prestwich area. Frank originated from Cheadle and Florence from Heaton Mersey and it was Heaton Mersey where they first settled - at 169 Didsbury Road.
The 1901 Census records their sons as Fred (then 8) and Frank (6). The local press later indicated there was another brother, Ted, who was a well known boxer in the Cheadle area and who was serving with Lancashire Fusiliers. The family history website, FreeBMD, notes the birth in Stockport of an Edward Fitchett in the late spring of 1891.
Fred worked for Melland & Coward; a local firm of cotton bleachers with works at Vale Road, Heaton Mersey. The family home had moved to 2 Hythe Road, Cheadle Heath by the time of the Great War (and later to 8 Merton Road). They worshipped at the nearby St John's Methodist Church and Fred played for the Church football team.
When War was declared in August 1914, quite a number of local sportsmen started to drill at Stockport Cricket Club and subsequently enlisted into the army. Amongst them were Fred and three other members of the team - Stan Bradbury, Harry Clare and Alec Graham. Stan would be the only one who came home. When he was 79, Stan wrote an account of his time in the War, in memory of his three lost mates. A copy is now held by the Regimental Archives which gives permission to use extracts.
Stan recounted that they were at the cricket ground one day when a Lieutenant Hayes of the 7th Manchesters arrived "and said, "I say you chaps, anyone of you want to join up?" No-one spoke for a few minutes. So he went onto explain that the 7th were short of 60 men to make up the numbers to full compliment (sic) and that they were shortly going to the Middle east for garrison Duty. This sounded like a "Cook's" tour so our wit Fred said "Come on lads; let's join" so the four of us did." An account of their early months in Egypt and the Sudan is here.
On 3 May, Fred and his mates left Egypt to go into action at Gallipoli, landing on the 7th. Less than a month later he was dead. Click here for an account of the attack in which he was killed.
In its edition of 24 August 1917, the Stockport Advertiser reported that Sergeant Frank Fitchett, serving with the Royal Field Artillery, had been awarded the Military Medal. His act of bravery is not known. Frank had also been wounded and was in hospital but he survived the War. Sergeant Edward Fitchett transferred from the Lancashire Fusiliers to the Machine Gun Corps and also survived.