Frederick John Tidmarsh was born on 30 December 1896 the son of Thomas William (b Gt Rollright, Oxfordshire, c 1853) and Mary Jane Tidmarsh (b Brighton c 1863).Thomas and Mary Jane moved around a great deal and their 14 children were born in Billericay in Essex, Heanor in Derbyshire, Edale in Derbyshire, and Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire where Fred was born.The appear to have been attracted to the village, which is about six miles south of Daventry by the building of the railway that opened in 1899 because on the notice of Fred’s baptism in the local church on 7 February 1897, Thomas is given as a navvy labourer.Moved to IdleThey appear to have moved to Idle around 1910. Again probably for railway work because in in the 1901 census Thomas is given as a navvy ganger.They were living at 4 Croft Street in what must have been a crowded house because in addition to husband and wife and nine children, including newly born Philip, there were three lodgers.By 1911 they had moved to Booth Street. We learn that three of the family’s 14 children have died and the seven rooms now housed Thomas & Mary Jane and ten of their children, including Fred who
at the age of 14 was a grocer’s errand boy.We learn about Fred’s war in a Shipley Times feature published on 18 June 1915:Pte Fred J Tidmarsh, son of Mr and Mrs T W Tidmarsh of Bradford Road, Idle, is home on furlough but returns to his regiment tomorrow (Saturday).He has been in hospital several weeks suffering from the effects of slight gas poisoning and nervous breakdown from overstrain.He joined the 2nd Scots Guards soon after the outbreak of war and after completing his training went to the Continent early in May.It was not long before his regiment was in the thick of the fighting. The fiercest struggle in which he took part was at Rue de Bois, near La Bassee, where the battle raged throughout Whit Sunday.On that day the Scots Guards stormed four lines of trenches and drove the enemy out at the point of the bayonet with terrible loss.But the British suffered heavily also. Of the 800 Scots Guards who took part in the action only 200 were left and Pte Tidmarsh’s company, which consisted of 200, only 27 remained.
Owing to there not being sufficient reserves to retain the ground gained, they had to evacuate two lines of trenches and in doing so they were obliged to leave behind many wounded.The Germans, says Pte Tidmarsh, are not enamoured of hand to hand fighting. “Every time the English stormed a trench, the Huns fired until the English were within a few paces of them and then grounded their arms like lightning and asked for mercy.”Pte Tidmarsh, who is only 18 years of age, has two brothers in the forces, namely Pte T W Tidmarsh and Pte Alfred TidmarshThe following week (25 June), the paper followed up with a feature on Fred and two of his fighting brothers Thomas William and Alfred where we learn he is at Wellington Barracks, London. Before the war Fred was a butcher.The report continues: “Fred has only recently returned from the front after having been in the thickest of the fighting. He went to the Continent in the early part of May and a few weeks later took part in one of the fiercest struggles of the war.
“On Whit Sunday his regiment took several German trenches at the point of the bayonet at Rue de Bois, which is near La Bassee.“Owing to there not being sufficient reserves to retain the ground gained, the British had to evacuate two lines of trenches, leaving many wounded behind.“They inflicted severe losses on the enemy. Although they too lost heavily, they reached their objective.Nervous breakdown“Pte Tidmarsh accounted for a good many Germans. He has not a very high opinion of the Huns as fighters. In fact, he declares that they invariably ground their arms as soon as the English get at close quarters.“Pte Tidmarsh suffered for a few weeks from the result of gas poisoning and nervous breakdown but has now re-joined his comrades.”We know little of Frederick’s life after the war. He married Phoebe Whiteley in October 1920 and at the time of the 1939 register the couple were living at 33 Woodbine Grove, Idle, with three children. Fred is given as a Local Government Officer.Phoebe died in 1971 and later Fred went to live with his son in South Wales where he died in October 1976.