Sapper Frederick Joseph Blackwall
447th Bn, Royal Engineers

Town Memorial P1.R3.C2
the memorial is incorrect *

Taken, Not Given

Fredk. J Blackwell [*Blackwall]
Royal Engineers,
Oct 9 1918

Taken, Not Given, Liam Sumption, L&DLHS

Frederick Blackwall died as a prisoner of war in German hands at Worms, which is situated in the Palatinate just above the Rhine port of Mannehim.

His name does not appear in the list of those held in Germany in 1916 ¹. However this is not conclusive evidence as to the possible date of his capture.

Soldiers who died in the Great War (RE) gives Frederick Joseph Blackwall's service number as 231087, that he was born in London and enlisted in Guildford and was serving with 447 Field Coy RE. ²

The Parish magazine of November 1918 ³ reported that Frederick Joseph Blackwall (not Blackwell) 'died in hospital in Germany' and his unit as '50th RE'.

1. AIR 1/392/204/5/696, 697, 698 - Lists of prisoners held in Germany in 1916: PRO
2. Soldiers who died in the Great War (RE): IWM Lambeth
3. Parish Magazine of St Mary & St Nicholas , Leatherhead: November 1918 issue.

Further research

Rank: Sapper
Regiment: Royal Engineers
Unit: 447th Bn.
Age: 40
Date of Death: 09/10/1918
Service No: 231087
Son of William and Mary Ann Blackwall, of 5, Watch House Villas, Felstead, Chelmsford. Born in London.

His records show that he was reported missing from 447 Field Coy on 27 May 1918. This unit was formerly 2nd Northumbrian Field Company numbered 447 on 1st February 1917.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 17 August 1918 MISSING
It has just been reported locally that Pte. F. E. Blackwell, R.E., has been missing since June 4th last. Prior to joining the army Pte. Blackwell was for many years a cooper at the Swan Brewery, Leatherhead, and was very well known locally, being a popular member of the Unionist Club.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 28 December
BLACKWALL, PTE. FRED, R.E., of Leatherhead, wounded, died a prisoner of war.

His records show "Died whilst Prisoner of War at Prisoner of War Hospital, Worms, Germany."

He is not listed in the May 1915 issue of Leatherhead Parish Magazine among those serving because he had not yet enlisted. He was recruited at Guildford, Surrey on 25 January 1917, aged 38y 6m. He gave his mother's address as 9 Lurke Street, Bedford and himself as head of household. He was a Cooper by trade.

His entry in the WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls refer to him also having been a Private 41466 in the Hampshire Regiment.

His life

He was born on 7 July 1878 and baptised on 4 August 1878 at St Mary's, Bromley St Leonard, Tower Hamlets, London. It was destroyed by bombing in World War II and obliterated by the building of the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, dividing the main residential body of the parish from the river front, though its churchyard survives.

His father was William Blackwall, a Cooper by trade; his  mother was Mary Anne Blackwall; their address was South Hackney. In December 1919 when going through the formalities of receiving the WW1 Commemorative Plaque and Scroll, on the form completed by his mother (then living at Hartford End, Felstead, Chelmsford) she listed the other members of the family:

(Father) William Blackwall, deceased
Graham Ernest 44
Albert Percy 33
Arthur Leopold 32
Maude Mary 42
Alice Jane 39

In the 1911 Census he was lodging at 5 Queen Anne Terrace, Leatherhead, the home of John Shepherd, an Assistant Ironmonger and his wife Alice and daughter Phyliss. According to Electoral Registers he lodged there since at least 1908 and was still there in 1915. In 1905 and 1906 he had been lodging at 3 Bertha Villa, Linden Road, Leatherhead, where his landlord was E Aust.    

He is listed on the following memorials

Church Lads Brigade Tryptich in All Saints Church
Ladies' War Shrine, Leatherhead Parish Church
Leatherhead Town Memorial

Royal British Legion Roll of Honour, Leatherhead Parish Church


Map showing Worms, Germany

Royal Engineers Museum

the website editor would like to add further information on this casualty
e.g. a photo of him, of his grave and of any recollections within his family

page last updated 10 Feb 14 CWGC links updated 7 Nov 17: content 1 Jun 20: badge corrected 16 Jul 20