Fred Crabtree was the youngest of four children of quarryman Tom Crabtree and his wife Martha Eliza.Tom died sometime between the 1901 and 1911 census returns and by the latter Fred was listed as a doffer in a spinning room.Given the medals he was awarded we have very little detail of Fred’s war and one gets the impression a mixture of paper shortages and war fatigue meant newspapers were giving less coverage of individual stories. The first mention is in the Shipley Times & Express on 18 January 1918:
“Driver Willie Crabtree, R.F.A., and his brother A.B. Fred Crabtree, of Greenfield Lane, were home on leave last week.“The former has been in France about three years whilst Fred has had 14 months’ active service. Both have taken part in the most important operations.”The following week the newspaper reported:“Fred Crabtree of Greenfield Lane, who is in the Royal Marines, has been awarded the Military Medal.“He has been in the forces for over two years and has served on the Continent for about 16 months.
“Before enlisting he was employed by Messrs J & P Obank, Idle. He is brother to Driver Willie Crabtree.”On the 8 March the paper published another story about Fred:“A.B. Fred Crabtree, Royal Marines, of 8 Tomlinson Buildings, Idle, was awarded the Military Medal towards the end of January and has now won the Belgian Croix de Guerre for bravery in action.“Aged 22, he enlisted three years ago and went to the front a year later. He worked for a building firm.”