Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Frederick James Moseley Greatwich was the son of John and Catherine Greatwich of Bernard’s Hill. John was a labourer in the leather trade.
Frederick worked as an assistant in a draper’s shop. He joined up at the start of the war and served with the 6th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action on 25th June, 1916, whilst the battalion was in the trenches around Ypres. The battalion war diary records: "Enemy artillery very active all day. 5 O[ther] R[ank]s killed & 18 wounded." He is buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery.
Corp Greatwich was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 15 Star. His death was reported in the Bridgnorth Journal of 1st July, 1916.
Frederick had several brothers who also served in the war. Sidney – a CQMS in the KSLI - was awarded the Military Medal. Harry was killed at Arras in 1917.
BRIDGNORTH MEN KILLED [Bridgnorth Journal 1st July, 1916] Mr and Mrs Greatwich, of Bernard’s Hill, Bridgnorth, received a letter on Thursday from their son, Q.M.S. Sidney Greatwich, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, informing them that his brother, 13192 Corporal Fred. J. Greatwich, K.S.L.I., was killed instantaneously on Sunday last, the 25th ult., whilst in action in France. The deceased, previous to enlisting, was in the employ of Messrs. Williams and Austin, drapers, High Street. He was for 11 years a chorister [at] the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, and was 23 years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Greatwich have four other sons serving in France.
KILLED IN ACTION [Bridgnorth Journal 8th July, 1916] In our last issue we reported that Mr. and Mrs. J. Greatwich, 11 Bernard’s Hill, Bridgnorth, had received a letter from their son, Q.M.S. Sidney Greatwich, informing them that his brother, 13192 Corporal Frederick Greatwich, K.S.L.I., had been killed in action in France on the 25th ult. They have since received from the Infantry Record Office, Shrewsbury, an official notification that their son was killed in action on that date, and expressing to them the sympathy and regret of the Army Council at their loss. Mrs Greatwich has also received a kind and sympathetic letter from the Chaplain, dated the 27th June, in which he says:- “It is only last night that your elder boy came to tell me of his brother’s death, and to-day we have laid his body to rest in a soldier’s grave in the ‘sure and certain hope’ which makes that service so beautiful in spite of all its sorrow. . . . The brother was able to be with us at the service. . . . Both your boys were doing so well that the loss of one of them will be a real loss to the Battalion. . . . The grave is in a cemetery that will be properly cared for, and will soon be marked by a simple cross and inscription.”
A PATRIOTIC BRIDGNORTH FAMILY [Bridgnorth Journal, Saturday 27th January, 1917] 13186 Company-Q.M.-Sergt. Sidney Greatwich, Shropshire Light Infantry, to whom the King has been pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the field, is a native of Bridgnorth, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Greatwich, live at No. 11, Bernard’s Hill. He is one of six brothers who joined the army. His brother, Corpl. Fredk. Jas., K.S.L.I., was killed in action on June 25th, 1916. His brother, Pte. Harry. K.S.L.I. (attached Trench Mortar Battery), was mentioned in despatches by Sir Douglas Haig early this month. Pte. Reginald John Greatwich, R.A.M.C., and Gunner Arthur Greatwich, R.G.A., are serving in France, and his other brother, Pte. Horace, Welsh Regiment, was discharged owing to rheumatic fever, and is now working in munitions. In addition to the above, Ernest E. Greatwich, an older brother, is engaged in the making of big shells in Birmingham. He served eight years in the Volunteer corps.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.