Rolls of Honour: Thiepval Memorial; (Possibly St Paul’s, St Peter’s and Saltaire Wesleyan Chapel
Regiment: 1/5 West Yorkshire
Fred Lee was the eldest of three sons, all born in Shipley. Their father, Emanuel was, according to the 1911 census, a builder and contractor born in Bradford, while his mother, Harriet was from Oddington in Oxfordshire.The following report appeared in the Shipley Times & Express on 13 October 1916.‘Rifleman Fred Lee, who has been reported missing, was 19 years of age. He was called up under Lord Derby Scheme on April 4th and was trained in the West Yorks at Clipston Camp. He had been at the front several months.‘He was previously employed in the grocery department by the Windhill Industrial Co-operative Society.‘Any news concerning him will be welcomed by his parents. He is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Emanuel Lee of 41 Barrett Street, Shipley.’It was May of 1917 before the article below appeared with its graphic account of Fred’s death on the Somme.
Mr and Mrs Lee of 41 Barrett Street, Shipley, have now received official notification that their eldest son, Rifleman Fred Lee (19), who was reported missing on September 3rd, 1916, has been included among the list of the killed.Mrs Lee received a communication from L Cpl J W Sanderson, in hospital in Lancashire, who wrote: ‘I am sorry to say there is no possible doubt as to your son’s fate. I knew Fred and liked him too well to make any mistakes. ‘He had only been with us about three weeks but he was already a favourite with all ranks. He was chosen for the important duty of despatch carrying on account of his pluck and intelligence.
‘In September, when he was killed, I remember he had been ordered to stick to Lieut Woodhead, of Bradford, and if we had captured the German position it would have been Fred’s duty to carry messages from that officer to the commander of the battalion.‘Lieut Woodhead had his leg badly shattered by a shell and I heard he was struck again later and killed. Your boy appeared to have been caught by a shell when we were about halfway across to the first German trench.‘That was where I found him as I made my way back after getting a machine gun bullet through the hip. Both his arms had been blown off. Had I not been so badly crippled I
would have tried to get his body to bury it.‘There were only about six survivors out of the two hundred men that formed his company and these were all more or less wounded. We were making an attack on a fortified village.Billiard playerPlease accept my heartfelt sympathy in your grievous loss. Your son was a brave soldier and liked by everybody who knew him. I can imagine his parents were fond of him.Rifleman Lee attended Shipley Church School and was a member of the Wesleyan Reform Sunday School.
He was a well-known local billiard player. After he had left for the front his parents received a medal won by him in connection with the Baildon St Peter’s billiard team.He was employed in the grocery department of the Windhill Industrial Co-operative Society.Fred is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial where the names of men with no known grave are listed. There is also a Fred Lee on the memorials at St Peter’s, St Paul’s and the Saltaire Wesleyan Chapel but it is impossible to know whether they mark the passing of this Fred or another from Shipley, who had moved to the USA, and died in August 1917.