Frederick Martin

1878 - 1916

Frederick lived in several parts of Oxford and was associated with a number of its Methodist churches. He became a saddler and maintained harnesses for horses pulling field guns.

One of 10 children

Frederick Martin was born in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, in 1878. His father was an agricultural labourer who could not sign his name, but his mother was a servant, and could. Frederick was the second of their ten surviving children. Three of them were baptised at a Primitive Methodist Chapel when the family was living in Botley (now part of Oxford). One brother was baptised at the age of 18 in 1913 at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church.

Saddler

Frederick became a saddler and married in 1900. He and his wife went to live in St Clement’s, Oxford, but less than four months later she died. He moved back to the family home, but in 1904 he married again. The couple lived in East Oxford and their first child was baptised at St Clement’s Methodist Church. Later they moved to Jericho, Oxford, and had two more children who were baptised in 1913 at Walton Street Methodist Church.

Royal Field Artillery

When war broke out Frederick joined D Battery of the 86th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery as a Corporal Saddler. He reached France in July 1915. His trade would have been valuable: each battery of field guns used 200 transport horses, as depicted in the well-known ‘War Horse’ story. Their saddlery could deteriorate rapidly.

Died at Halifax

Frederick’s saw his first action in September 1915.  Then from July 1916 his unit was at the Battle of the Somme. He seems to have been promoted to Sergeant, but he became ill and was invalided home. He died in the War Hospital at Halifax on 26 August 1916, aged 38, and was buried in Botley Cemetery. His widow lived to the age of 94 and died at Sobell House, Oxford, in 1978.

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