Frederick Leigh Warburton

I have been working recently on the Partington Clan. It is actually an extension of the old Pennsylvania clan to cover various English branches of the family. They are believed to be descendants of William Warburton who acquired 4/18ths of the manor of Partington in 1320, though nothing is known until the death of John of Partington in 1604.

This has kept me occupied so I haven’t posted for a few weeks. However now so many of us are stuck at home, socially distancing I thought it appropriate to share any stories that come along. This one concerns a soldier who died in WW1.

Frederick Leigh Warburton was born in Lymm, Cheshire in 1896, the second of 6 children (5 boys and a girl) born to Thomas Henry Warburton, a basket maker, and Mary Ellen nee Whitfield. By the time he enlisted in the Army, the family had already suffered tragedy. The deaths of his two youngest brothers were recorded in the 4th quarter of 1915, Morris aged 6, and Robert, aged 13. I haven’t seen the death certificates so I don’t know if, or how the deaths were related.

Frederick enlisted in the Army at Altrincham in August 1916, initially in the Cheshire regiment. During his time he served in both the Cheshire and Welsh Regiments, and had 2 service numbers. He served in France from May 20th 1917 to November 14th 1917. He was hospitalised in Huddersfield War Hospital from November 15th 1917 to January 16th 1918 with trench feet. At the time he was with the Welsh Regiment, but when he returned to France on February 28th 1918 he returned to the Cheshire Regiment. 

Frederick was killed in action but news was slow getting back to his family. On July 2nd his mother wrote to the War Office for information, saying Frederick had written to her on May 15th. He was at base having been wounded but was returning to Company D of the 11th Cheshire Regiment. On August 4th she wrote again saying she had received a letter from Mrs Bytheway wife of Lt. A Bytheway saying her husband was a prisoner of war in Germany and had written to her asking her to: “Please write to Mrs Warburton and tell her that her son Frederick Leigh Warburton was instantly killed on May 27th at 3.30pm by a sniper. She will have heard nothing and no doubt will be glad of news, even if the worst. I have his pay book with will inside leaving everything to her, and photographs which some day I hope to let her have. The 11th Cheshire were taken prisoner an hour after the dear boy died.”

After investigations, which involved reconciling Frederick’s new service numbers, and asking to see the letter from Lt Bytheway, the War Office accepted it as proof of Frederick’s death. Copies of the various correspondence can be seen in Frederick’s war records on Ancestry. It seems his original number was also given someone else so he got a new one, but still used the old one in correspondence with his mother.

Frederick is recorded on the Soissons Memorial.

I wonder if Mary Ellen got her photos.

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