2nd Lieutenant Frederick Arthur INNES

Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
(Formerly: Royal Fusiliers, 20th Battalion)
4th Battalion
Service Number:
5107 (Royal Fusiliers)
Date of Death:
3 September 1916 - Killed in Action
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
VIII. E. 10.  
Military Cross.
Mentioned in Despatches

Personal History:

Frederick was born at "Vineries", The Hollow, Littleover, Derby on 13th January 1886 (1891 Census RG 12/2721), the second son of William (Estate Agent) and Bessie Sarah (née Bird) Innes. In 1901 (Census RG 13/3215) the family were living at 17 North Parade, Derby.
Frederick had an older brother, William Harry, and five younger siblings, Frank Laurie, Alice Marjorie, Edward Sydney, Leonard Stanley and Winifred Pattie. Later after the War they moved to 134 Whitaker Road, Derby. William's business was at 23 The Wardwick, Derby. (The firm of "Frank Innes, Estate Agents" continues in business to this day [2014])

He was educated at The Diocesan School, Derby and for a short time was on the staff of The United Counties Bank, Birmingham.

Aged 30 and unmarried, Frederick was in business at Buxton with his brother, Edward Sydney, under the style of 'Innes and Innes', house and estate agent at Hardwick Chambers, 17 Spring Gardens (Later: Edward moved to The Bungalow, Palace Road, Buxton.)

Frederick's brothers, Frank Laurie and Leonard Stanley, also served in the War - see Footnote below.

Military History:
Frederick enlisted in the Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in September 1914. He was stationed at Leatherhead and Epsom until he received his Commission. The London Gazette, 13th April 1915, confirms his appointment as 2/Lieutenant with effect from 26th March with the 1/4 West Ridings, after which he trained at Doncaster and Thoresby Park and entered France with them on 20th September 1915. part of the 147th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division.

Less than a month later, on the 16th October 1915 Frederick was wounded. The Battalion History, pages 43/44, reads: "About 6pm the enemy apparently saw that success was impossible, and gradually the shelling died down. The Battalion was then able to review the situation and to count its casualties. Lieut E.N. Marshall, Sec. Lt. F.A. Innes and twenty-two other ranks wounded." for ".. gallant services on this occasion .."

Frederick was awarded the Military Cross. The London Gazette of 18th November 1915 gives his MC citation dated 16th October 1915, for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the Yser Canal. It was Frederick's first time in the trenches, and he was Mentioned in Despatches by Field Marshall Sir John French (London Gazette, 1st January 1916) for gallant and distinguished service in the field.

His MC citation reads:

"Second Lieutenant Frederick Arthur Innes, 1st/4th Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment), Territorial Force.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on 16th October, 1915, on the Yser Canal.

He held a sap-head within a few yards of the German trenches during an intense bombardment, and, after the end had been blown in, prepared a new block and repulsed three consecutive bomb attacks. Although wounded by shrapnel early in the bombardment he remained at his post and held the sap throughout the night of 16th/17th October. At last it became necessary to order him to hospital.
Second Lieutenant Innes had just joined the battalion."

The 'Buxton Advertiser' (13th November 1915) - reporting his MC award - adds detail to the citation to the effect that

"The trenches he occupied were not more than 20 yards from the German lines and were waist deep in mud and water. In writing home he pays special tribute to the courage and enthusiasm of the men who, although subject to awful exposure, behave splendidly under rifle and shell fire."

The paper goes on to quote a reprint of the "Divisional Brigade and Battalion Orders":

"Honours and Awards
   The Divisional Commander has great pleasure in announcing that the MILITARY CROSS has been awarded to Sec. Lieut. Innes F A, 4th Bat. West Riding Regiment for conspicuous gallantry on 16th October 1915, in holding a saphead during intense bombardment by the enemy, and repulsing three consecutive attacks by hostile bombers.

   Sec. Lieut. Innes was himself wounded in the early part of the bombardment but remained at his post and held the sap throughout the night of the 16th/17th October. We are proud to have an opportunity to congratulate Lt Innes on so fine a record."

On returning to duty on 23rd October 1915, he was appointed Brigade Bombing Officer with the 4th West Riding Regiment, which the Medal Index Card shows as a Territorial Force. He was gassed in December 1915 and returned home on leave for six days over New Year, but on his return to France suffered a relapse and spent 16 weeks in hospital at Le Havre.

Shortly after the start of the Battle of the Somme, during early July 1916, Frederick's Battalion had alternated turns in the line with its sister Battalion, the 1/5th. The Battalion Historian, Captain P.G. Bales, M.C., recorded that: "... the sunken Thiepval Road [is] crowded with Ulstermen who had fallen or crawled there to die on 1st July.", emphasising that bodies had not been recovered.

On the 2nd September the Battalion moved from Martinsart Wood and during that night assembled in Thiepval Wood. At 5.00 a.m. the following morning they attacked Schwaben Redoubt from positions along the Hamel to Thiepval Road. The German line was soon penetrated, but heavy machine fire from the Redoubt and the Strasburg Line, together with a counter-attack, forced a withdrawal back to Martinsart Wood. The Battalion received 347 casualties.

It was whilst acting in the capacity of Brigade Bombing Officer that Frederick was killed in action by shell fire at Thiepval, on the 3rd September 1916. He was buried in a cemetery half a mile west of Thiepval, and was one of 156 Officers and men of the 1/4th (4th) Battalion killed in action on the 3rd September, only 62 of which have a known burial place, the remainder are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. [Most of the burials are in Mill Road Cemetery, Frederick is the only one buried in Lonsdale Cemetery.] The 1/5th Battalion also attacked Schwaben Redoubt with a strength of only 450 men, and suffered 350 casualties.

The 'Buxton Advertiser' (9th September 1916) reported on Frederick's death (reprinting their MC and Divisional Orders (above) and stating that "... late on Thursday a telegram had been received ..." adding that: "We understand that on his next leave he was receive his Military Cross from the hands of His Majesty the King.

Thoughtful, unassuming and very kindly disposed, Lieut. Innes death will be greatly regretted in Buxton and Derby and wherever he was known. By his brother officers and men he was held in the highest esteem for he was a soldier to whom fear was unknown, and always performed his important duties, no matter how difficult or dangerous, in the most cheerful manner."

Two local West Yorkshire newspapers also reported on Frederick's death, as follows:

Sec. - Lieut. Frederick Arthur Innes, West Riding Regt., was killed in action last Sunday. Enlisting in the Public Schools Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in Sept 1914, he obtained a commission six months later. He went to France in the following Sept., and won the Military Cross as battalion bombing officer within three days of his landing. He was attached to a local regiment. He was also mentioned in dispatches last January. Aged 30, unmarried, he was in business at Buxton with his brother under the style of Innes and Innes, house and estate agents."
(The Halifax Evening Courier Saturday 9th September 1916. p. 4.)
Sec.-Lt. Frederick Arthur Innes was killed on the same day. He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers in September 1914, obtained a commission six months later, and went to France a year ago. He won the Military Cross as bombing officer in October last when by their gallantry in peril the late Sgt Clarke (Halifax) and Corporal Landale (Hebden Bridge) won the D.C.M. Lt. Innes, who was 30 years old, was mentioned in despatches last January as well. He was a house and estate agent at Buxton."
(Hebden Bridge Times & Gazette. 15th September 1916. p. 7.)

In addition to his CWGC grave at Authuile, Frederick is also commemorated by an inscription on his parents' grave. Unfortunately it is in a very poor condition and is situated in the graveyard of St Peter's, Littleover, Derby. (see below)

'The Buxton Advertiser' of 9th September 1916 gives details of Frederick's siblings, reporting that "A younger brother, who is in the Royal Flying Corps, met with a serious accident whilst on leave three weeks ago, and is now suffering from a fractured skull and such injury to his left eye that apprehension is felt as to whether he may not lose the sight of it. Only on Thursday night another brother who is in the R.G.A. came home on his last leave prior to going to the front and returns on the 19th inst."

It was not reported who these brothers were, by name, but Medal Index Cards, however, indicate that the first brother was Leonard Stanley, Air Mechanic 32802, who enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps on the 16th June 1916 (Discharged 23rd March 1917). The second brother above was Frank Laurie, who enlisted as Gunner 93249 in the Royal Garrison Artillery, before being Commissioned in the Royal Air Force, with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, on the 11th September 1918.

· de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, Vol 3, Page 150
· "The Sphere", volume LXVII, page 151
· "British Battalions on the Somme" - Ray Westlake [ISBN-10: 0850523745] p. 154
· David Cochrane, via the Great War Forum, for his notes and references on Frederick
· 'Buxton Advertiser' - 13th November 1915
· 'Buxton Advertiser' - 9th September 1916

Commemorated on:
Parents' Grave, St Peter's, Littleover, Derby (see right)

Link to CWGC Record
2/Lt Innes' grave at Aythuile
2/Lt Frederick Arthur Innes (From
James' grave alongside that of his parents
The Military Cross
Inscription on Frederick's parents' grave at Littleover