Frederick James Webb was born in 1885 at Pitchplace near Guildford.
His father, Oliver James Webb (although many records show him as James Webb), was a Metropolitan Police Constable who served between the 22nd June 1863 and 10th November 1883 in the S or Hampstead Division. He married his mother, Annie Miller Beacher, on 11th October 1867 at Marylebone.
They had 8 children, 6 girls and 2 boys, all born in St Pancras except the youngest who was Frederick.
During the 1891 census the family are living at 4, Sparkes Row, Park Street, Guildford with father, Oliver now retired from the Police and employed as a Groom. In the 1901 census they are still living at the same address, father Oliver is working as a Farmers Stockman and Frederick as a Carman (deliveryman) working with the railway. Later in 1901 their father, Oliver, died aged 58.
Frederick married Florence Gritt on 13th April 1907 at Farncombe Surrey. He was still living at Guildford and employed as a Drayman. They had two sons, Frederick James was born in 1907 at Guildford and Harold Jack in 1909 at Guildford.
At the time of the 1911 census they were living at 5, Margaret Road, Guildford and Frederick was still working as a Drayman.
His Police Service Record has not survived and the reasons or circumstances of his joining the Hertford County Constabulary are not clear. However, based on General Order 58 of 26th February 1919 (see transcript further on) it is assumed he was Appointed as Police Constable 304 of E Division at Hitchin during July 1914.
Nothing further about his Police Service is known until after the outbreak of the War and he resigns his Appointment in order to enlist.
General Order 27 of 10th February 1915 Resignation.
Police Constable 304 Frederick John Webb, ‘E’, having submitted an application to resign his appointment as a Constable of the Hertford County Constabulary, for the purpose of enlisting in the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. His resignation is accepted, to take effect on 10th February 1915. Police Constable Webb will be paid up to and including 10th February 1915 and will be struck off the establishment of the Force from that date. If the Army Council decide that Police Constable Webb possesses qualifications not possessed by ordinary recruits the benefits provided under Section 2 (2) of the Police Constables (Naval and Military Services) Act 1914, will be extended to him.
No evidence of whether the Army Council did decide that Frederick possessed suggest qualities but the fact that he appears in General Order 118 of 21st July 1915, which is a list of 96 officers which included the Chief Constable, 43 Constables who were Army reservists who were recalled and 50 Constables and 2 Sergeants who volunteered for military service, then it may be safe to assume that they did. Frederick is shown as PC 304 Webb F.J. E Division, who enlisted in 5th Battalion, West Surrey Regiment on 11th February 1915.
His Army Service Record has not survived but from his Medal Index Roll Card, Medal Rolls, Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, Soldiers effects records, Soldiers died in the Great War transcript and a newspaper article the following is known:
Frederick James Webb joined the Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment) as Private G/4665 initially in the 1st Battalion. He landed in France on 27th August 1915. He was promoted to Sergeant and was serving in the 7th Battalion when he was killed in action on 10th August 1917. He was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.
Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) Rough Register Of Recruits 1914-1917 also records that on 11th February 1915 an F.J. Webb, age 30 years 11 months, was Attested as Private 4665.
Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919 records that Sergeant G/4665 Frederick James Webb (born at Guildford, Surrey who was resident at and enlisted at Hitchin) of the 7th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) was killed in action on 10th August 1917 in France & Flanders.
From Commonwealth War Graves Commission records:
In Memory of Sergeant Frederick James Webb G/4665, 7th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) who died on 10 August 1917 age 31. Husband of Florence Webb, of 91, Balmoral Road, Hitchin, Herts. Remembered with Honour Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
As Frederick’s body was not recovered his death was presumed and he had authorised his effects to go to his sole heir, his wife Florence Webb.
Published on 27th July 1918 in the Hertford Mercury:
News has been received by Mrs Webb, 26, Balmoral Road, Hitchin, that her husband Sergeant F.J. Webb, Royal Surrey Regiment, is presumed to have been killed on August 10, 1917, having been posted as missing on that date. Sergeant Webb joined up January 1915 and went to France about the middle of that year. He was twice wounded, and as a result of wounds received at the Battle of Loos he was in hospital for over twelve months. Prior to joining up Sergeant Webb was for a few months a Police Constable at Hitchin.
General Order 58 of 26th February 1919 announced, amongst many different payments to various widows and Police pensioners, that under The Police Factories etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1917, the widow of PC 304 F.J. Webb E Division Hitchin had received £0 18s 0d as a refund of Rateable Deductions taken from his pay. This was because no pension was payable from Police Funds as she was already receiving a War Pension. The amount represented payments made over a period of 3 years 1 month of service.
The Electoral Rolls of 1919 – 1920 record that Florence Webb is living at 26, Balmoral Road, Hitchin and in 1922 – 1926 at 91, Balmoral Road, Hitchin.