Private Charles William John Frost

Photograph courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Charles William John Frost was born on 31st May 1895 in Dorking Surrey and was baptised on 3rd August 1895 at St Martin’s church in Dorking. At the time of the baptism Charles’ parents lived at 16 Jubilee Terrace Dorking. Charles’ father was working as a labourer.

Charles’ father; John Frost was born in the 4th quarter of 1864 in Rusper Sussex, the son of Morris and Sarah. He was baptised on 28th December 1864 in Rusper. Charles’ mother; Emily Frost (nee Elms) was born in the 3rd quarter of 1870 in Dorking, the daughter of David and Mary Ann. She was baptised on 7th August 1870 in Dorking. John and Emily married on 9th April 1890 at St Martin’s church. At the time of the marriage, John was working as a plate layer (trackman) and lived at North Street, Dorking.

Charles had five siblings, of whom two died as infants. Emily Annie was born on 4th May 1890 and died in the 4th quarter of 1890. She was not yet one year old. John was born in the 2nd quarter of 1891, and also died in the 2nd quarter of 1891, both children were born and died in Dorking.

Three of Charles’ siblings who survived infancy were: Lily May born on 6th May 1892; Albert Edward born on the 17th of November 1897 and lastly Violet Frost who was born in the 3rd quarter of 1901. All the children were born in Dorking.

The 1891 Census reads that the family lived at Ebenezer Row in Dorking and John was working as a general labourer.

The Admission Book of 1900 reads that Charles was admitted together with his sister Lily to the Dorking British School on 12th March 1900. Charles left the school on 26th November 1900. His schoolmate was Charles Upfold.

The 1901 Census reads that the family were in 16 Jubilee Terrace in Dorking Surrey. Charles’ father worked as a furnace stoker.

The Admission Book of 1902 reads that Charles was admitted to the St Martin’s Church of England School in Dorking. He still lived at 16 Jubilee Terrace in Dorking.

In 1903, Charles was attending St Martin’s Church of England School. Charles left the school on 28th May 1909. His schoolmate was Sidney Fillery.

The 1911 Census reads that the family lived at 26 Rothes Road in Dorking. The house had seven rooms. Charles’ father worked as a stoker in a timber works. Charles worked as a grocer and his sister Lily May as a day girl. A day girl could be either be a non-residential general servant or someone that worked at various minor unskilled jobs in brick-yards.

Charles was part of the 2nd/4th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment of the Territorial Force. At the time of enlistment Charles resided in Dorking at 43 Rothes Road, where enlisted. He was a private, with the regimental number was T/3536. Charles died on 9th August 1915 at Gallipoli. Charles was killed in action on the same day as Sidney Fillery, his schoolmate, sometime after disembarking at Sulva Bay in Turkey. Charles was 19 years old. He is commemorated at Helles Memorial on panels 30 and 31 and also at the Dorking St Martin’s church memorial; next to Sidney on both. Neither Sidney or Charles’ bodies were ever found.

Charles Frost Helles Memorial Roll of Honour © CWGC

The 2nd/4th Battalion of the Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment) was part of the British Territorial Force. The Battalion was formed in Croydon in August 1914 and then moved to Windsor to join the 2nd Surrey Brigade, 2nd Home Counties Division. On 24th April 1915, the Battalion moved to Cambridge as the part of 160th Brigade, 53rd Division. In July 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and embarked to Gallipoli from Devonport, Plymouth. From 9th August they took part in various actions against the Turkish Army and after huge losses (the division was reduced to 15% of their full strength) due to combat casualties, disease and bad weather the Battalion was evacuated to Egypt on 19th December 1915.

The War Diary of the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Queens

On the 17th of July 1915 at 12.30 AM the Battalion boarded trains in Bedford for Devonport. At 8.00 PM on the same day the Battalion sailed on the HMT U[l]ysses to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli. On July 28th the ship docked in Alexandria, Egypt. From the 31st of July to the 4th of August the Battalion called at Port Said. Then they sailed to Mudros Harbour at which they arrived on the 7th of August 1915. On the 8th of August 1915 the ship reached Suvla Bay on Gallipoli peninsula.

The next day on the 9th of August 1915 at 2.30 AM, the soldiers left the ship on ‘C’ Beach. Sometime during this day, Private Frost died.

At 5.30 AM the Battalion was ordered to entrench south west of Chocolate Hill (Hill 53). At 6.40 AM an urgent message sent them to the North West slope of Hill 53 to reinforce the 31th Brigade. At this time the Battalion suffered several casualties (shelling & rifle firing) while advancing across South-Southeast of Salt Lake. At 7.30 AM they arrived at Chocolate Hill and were ordered to join the 33th Brigade and advance round North spur of the Hill & thence East to support the Brigade which was under attack. A 9.00 AM the 2/4th joined the 6th Dublin Fusilier Battalion and advanced and occupied an old Turkish trench. 3 companies advanced at 7.30 AM by 600 yards to front on to Hill 70 (Scimitar Hill) but were driven back by their own shell fire in the rear. The second attempt to advance to Hill 70 took place at 8 AM and also failed due to heavy fire from own guns in rear and ablaze scrubs on the Hill. At this point the Battalion suffered heavy casualties (250 men). At 12 noon the Battalion retreated back to the Turkish Trench and held on there. During the night of the 9th to 10th August the Battalion was under the heavy fire from one front and snipers while receiving an order to hold the position at all costs….

It is likely that Private Frost and Private Fillery both died during the second advance on Hill 70 at 8 AM.

Born Dorking, Surrey
Lived Dorking, Surrey
Son of John and Emily Frost of 43 Rothes Road, Dorking
Enlisted Dorking
Regiment 2/4th The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Number T/2536
Date of Death 9th August 1915
Place of Death Gallipoli
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 19
Memorial Helles Memorial, Turkey
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