Frederick Bonner, the baker who became a soldier

Frederick was the third child of George Bonner (a gardener) and Louisa Caroline Childs. He was born in 1887 when the Bonners lived in Sweetwater and baptised at All Saints’, Witley, on 13 March 1887. Louisa died aged 48 in 1903 and is buried in All Saints’, Witley, churchyard. In 1905 George married Emily Cooke at All Saints’.

Frederick became a baker before enlisting in the regular army, joining the Army Services Corps. Frederick went to France in 1914 and qualified for the 1914 Star (Mons Star). Frederick was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles, but the date on which this happened is unknown. The Royal Irish Rifles were part of 36th Ulster Division and in the front line when the Germans launched Operation Michael on 21 March 1918, the opening phase of their Spring Offensive. The Germans shelled the British with high explosive and gas then attacked with elite troops. Frederick was killed during this offensive and has no known grave. He is listed on the Poziers Memorial, Somme, France. As well as the Mons Star, Fredrick was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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