Lance Corporal Frederick Charles Clemetson
"A" Coy. 1st/4th Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

Town Memorial P1.R4.C3.

Taken, Not Given

Frederick C Clemetson
4th Royal Berkshire Regt
Aug 25 1915

The May 1915 issue of the Parish Magazine notes that Frederick was on active service with the 4th. Royal Berkshires.
The October 1915 issue records his death. (1)

His Christian names are given as Frederick Charles. He was born in Bagshot, Surrey, and had enlisted in Reading. (2)
The date of his death was given as 28 August 1915, that is three days later than that recorded on the Memorial.

He was serving in the 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, Regimental number 2857.

The War Diary reference in the Public Record Office is W095–3065.

Notes on sources
1. Parish magazine of St Mary and St Nicholas Leatherhead, issues of May and October 1915
2. Soldiers who Died in the Great War – Royal Berkshire Regiment, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth.

Further research

Lance Corporal

Service Number 2857
Died 25/08/1915
Aged 25
"A" Coy. 1st/4th Bn.
Royal Berkshire Regiment
Son of Richard and Emily Clemetson, of 5, Milman Rd., Reading.
Location: Pas de Calais, France
Cemetery/memorial reference: I. C. 17.

He enlisted at Reading joining Princess of Charlotte of Wales' (Royal Berkshire Regiment) with service number 2857.
His Pension Record Card mis-spelled his name as Clementson.
He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star.

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser
Saturday 4 September 1915

Mr. B. C. Stenning, of Leatherhead, has received a letter from Pte. S. L. Goss, who was formerly a clerk with him, announcing the death of Lce.-Corpl. Clemetson, in France.

The letter says: "I am sorry to inform you that another of Leatherhead heroes has fallen. You will remember F. C. Clemetson. I am sorry to have to tell you that he was killed by shell not far from where I am on Wednesday last. Death was almost instantaneous. It was out of the trenches where the unfortunate affair happened. He enlisted in the 4th Royal Berks the same day as I did, and was promoted to lance-corporal since being on active service.”

Miss Burley, assist. secretary of the Leatherhead Institute, has received the following letter from Sergt. H. Clemetson: "Two days ago we as a company and myself personally suffered bad loss. A German shell killed five members of this platoon and wounded seven others, two of them rather badly. My personal loss is that my brother Fred was among the five who have given their lives bravely for a noble cause. That they suffered no pain is a source of consolation to us all."

Lce.-Corpl. Clemetson was one of the many Leatherhead young fellows who enlisted at the outbreak of the war. He was very well-known locally, having been for some time a traveller for Messrs. Henry Moore and Son, millers, of Fetcham. He was a very popular member of the Leatherhead Unionist Club and Institute, and was held in high esteem by a large number of acquaintances. Lance-Corpl. Clemetson is the first member of the Leatherhead Unionist Club on active service to be killed in action, and the second member of the Leatherhead Institute to fall, his friend. Pte. Cecil Gaston, having been killed some time ago.

Middlesex Chronicle
Saturday 4 September 1915

Our Feltham readers will learn with the deepest regret that Lce.-Cpl. Frederick Clemetson, the 1st 4th Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed near Ypres on August 25th. The news was sent by his brother, Sergt. W. H. Clemetson, who is serving in the same corps, and who was only ten yards distant from his brother when he fell. In a letter to Mr. G. Kitney, clothier, of High street, Feltham, he wrote: “It is my sad duty to inform you that my brother Fred was killed by a German shell on the morning of the 25th inst. Four others in his platoon suffered the same fate, and seven were wounded. One will probably lose a leg and another an arm. There is little consolation in the knowledge that they suffered no pain, and died for a noble cause.
Kindly inform Mr. and Mrs. Wisbey and any his Feltham friends. It is the working fate that they should our best men.” Cpl. F. Clemetson, who belonged to a Reading family, came to Feltham about seven years ago as assistant in the business of Mr. Harry Fear. He always took an active part in all kinds of local sports, and was a favourite humorous singer at entertainments, and made numerous friends.
About two years since he left the district for Leatherhead, and last autumn joined the Royal Berks.

and a week later:

Last week we recorded that Cpl. F. C. Clemetson, who was formerly assistant at Mr. Harry Fear’s establishment, had been killed in action whilst in the trenches with his regiment, the 1/4th Royal Berks.

Major Hedges, of his battalion, in sending home an expression of sympathy to his mother, adds: “By his death have lost a brave, keen and most capable soldier. He had won the esteem of his officers and the love and respect of all who came in contact with him, for he was a fine example of what a soldier should be.”

Captain Blandy writes: “I knew your son well, he was works corporal of his platoon, and a better man you could not find. Nothing was too much for him to do, and he would always inspire the men under him with his own invariable cheerfulness I need hardly tell you that he was one of the most popular men in the company, and was also one of the most hardworking and useful men in it, too. Had he been spared, he would certainly have got further promotion before long.”

Surrey Mirror
Friday 31 December 1915

... Lce.-Corpl. F. C. Clemetson, 4th Royal Berks (killed in action in France).

The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser of Saturday 6 November 1915, reporting on the death of Pte Ernest Friday, noted that  "The deceased, who leaves a wife and three young children, was well known and highly respected locally. Latterly he had in the employ of Messrs. H. Moore and Son, millers, of Leatherhead, and he is the second employee of the firm to fall in the war, the death of Lce-Corpl. Clementson [sic] having been reported some time ago.

[His brother Sergeant William Clemetson was wounded in 1916 and it appears he went on to survive his military service as he does not appear in the CWGC database:

Reading Mercury
Saturday 22 July 1916
Mrs. Clemetson, 5 Milman Road, Reading, who lost her son, Corporal Frederick Clemetson, of the Royal Berks Regiment, in August last, has received information that her other son, Sergeant William Henry Clemetson, of the same regiment, was wounded in the back early on the morning July 9th, by bullet from a machine-gun. He is now in Le Havre Convalescent Depot, and we are pleased to report that is making very satisfactory progress; and in a letter to his mother he stated that hoped to be soon about again. Writing to Mrs. Clemetson, the Captain spoke in terms of high praise of her son and said that he was more than sorry to lose him, even temporarily, as had proved an admirable platoon sergeant, and had performed much excellent work. Sergeant Clemetson was educated at the Kendrick School, was with Messrs. Sutton and Sons, and for 8 years sang in the choir of All Saints’.]

His life

Frederick was born in June 1890 at Bagshot, Surrey.
He was baptised six years later on 29 March 1896 at at St Anne's, Bagshot, Surrey.
[The entry below his was for his sister May, baptised on the same date. She was born in 1891.]

His father was Richard Clemetson, born 19 December 1855 at Rolvenden, Kent. When his son Frederick was baptised Richard was described as a Grocer. He died in Reading, Berkshire, 2 November 1914.
His mother was Emily Clemetson née Stapley, born 31 July 1858 at Bexhill, Sussex. She died in 1941.
They married on 8th May 1880 at the Parish Church of St Leonards, Sussex.
Frederick's siblings were May, Emily, Ethel, Bertie, Richard, Frank, William, Winifred, Constance, Arthur, Gladys, Albert and Harold.

As stated above he "belonged to a Reading family, came to Feltham about seven years ago as assistant in the business of Mr. Harry Fear. He always took an active part in all kinds of local sports, and was a favourite humorous singer at entertainments, and made numerous friends. About two years since he left the district for Leatherhead, and last autumn joined the Royal Berks."

As to why he was in Leatherhead - where he is named on four memorials - we have so far only the note above that Lce-Cpl Clementson was in the employ of Messrs. H. Moore and Son, millers, of Leatherhead. He is also named on the Christchuch, Reading WW1 memorial.

Given that he was 25 when he died in 1915 it appears he came to Leatherhead in about 1913. He would then have been about 23 which would have been too old for him to have been a Church Lad (he is named on their memorial), unless he was on the staff?

He is remembered on these memorials:
Leatherhead Town Memorial
Leatherhead Parish Church, Ladies War Shrine (as Clementson)
Leatherhead Parish Church, RBL Roll of Honour
Leatherhead Church Lads Brigade, All Saints
Reading, Christchurch - WW1 Plaque 


Royal Berkshire Regiment
Surrey in the Great War

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

last updated 2 Sep 20