F. J. Grant
Service no. 654451
Rifleman, London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles), 2nd/21st Bn
Died 30 December 1917, aged 24
Remembered at Chatby Memorial, Egypt
This identification was made by Chris Burge, who writes:
Frederick James Grant was born on 26 March 1893, the first son of Frederick James and Eliza Rose Grant. Frederick was baptised when nearly three years old at St Barnabas, Kennington, on 16 January 1896 when the family was living at 18 Thorne Street. By 1901, Frederick was one of six children and the family lived at 12 Vauxhall Walk, a densely populated area running along the Albert Embankment with its gasworks, distillery and crossed by the London & South Western Railway. Fredrick’s father made his living as a railway carter.
By the time of the 1911 census, the Grant family appeared to have fallen on hard times. Both Frederick and his father were out of work and while his mother Eliza Rose continued to find work as a charwoman. Somehow Frederick’s mother had managed to raise seven children (three others had died). The family of nine persons lived in just four rooms at 51 Conroy Street. The address no longer exist but it was close to Fountain Street, off the Wandsworth Road, and around half a mile from what would become the site of the Stockwell War memorial.
Frederick’s circumstances seems to have driven him into Army, as he enlisted in 1912 joining the Royal Fusiliers. When and how this service ended is not known, but he had sufficient reason not to disclose his real name when he joined the Army a second time, enlisting at Camberwell using the alias of Frederick Vincent, some time late in 1916 or early 1917.
Late in 1917, Frederick James Grant (aka Fredrick Vincent) was one of around 2,200 troops who boarded HMT Aragon at Marseilles, bound for Egypt. Reaching Malta on December 23, a few days where spent celebrating Christmas. Disaster struck on 30 December abut 10 miles outside Alexandria port when the Aragon was stuck by enemy torpedoes. The vessel sunk in twenty minutes. Frederick James Grant was one of the 610 to die that day.
It is the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects that reveals Frederick James Grant served as Frederick Vincent. The £3 war gratuity paid to his father Frederick at the end of 1919, indicates he had served for no more than 12 months at the time of his death.
Frederick’s parents had continued to live in Conroy Street throughout the Great War and after. Fredrick’s mother Eliza Rose passed away in 1926 aged 55, and his father Frederick James Grant passed way in 1938, aged 72.