Lance Corporal, Royal Irish Rifles, 15th Bn.
Service no. 44903
Died on 22 November 1917, aged about 32
Remembered at Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France
Chris Burge writes:
Frederick Walter Warman was born in Kent in 1885, the third child of John and Ellen Eva Warman. By 1891, John and Ellen lived with their five children close to the seafront at 2 Pleasant Villas, Victoria Road, St Lawrence, Ramsgate in Kent. John Warman, who worked in a public house as a barman and cellarman, died in 1894. By the time of the 1901 census widowed Ellen was running her home as a boarding house, with the assistance of her 21-year-old daughter Lilian. Frederick, 15, was employed in a local hotel, possibly the nearby Granville Hotel on Victoria Parade.
In the 1911 census, Ellen had moved a short distance to 1 Avenue Villa, Avenue Road. Her three-storey home, one of four in the terrace, was adjacent to Holy Trinity Church and the open space of Arklow Square. Ellen now lived with three of her five surviving children: Lillian, 31, John, 27, and Ernest, 23. Both of Frederick’s brothers worked as hotel porters. The six-room property was also home to two male boarders. Frederick Warman was living at 83 Carter Street, Walworth, south-east London, renting one of Annie Smith’s five rooms, and was working in London hotels.
He married Florence Agnes Rowland early in 1915, in Southwark. She was the daughter of confectionery maker James Rowland who had premises in Borough High Street, Southwark, and a family home in 247 South Lambeth Road, Stockwell. The couple’s son, John Metcalf Warman, was born on 21 July 1915. Frederick’s brothers Ernest and John had both volunteered by the end of 1915, but Frederick waited to be conscripted.
He was called up in the second half of 1916 and sent to France in February 1917 as Lance Corporal 8838 Warman of the 1st/8th London Bn (The Post Office Rifles). At some stage in 1917, he was transferred to the 9th Royal Irish Rifles and renumbered L/Cpl. 9/44903. He received medical treatment for a bad case of trench fever, a lice-borne infection, in August 1917 at the 18th General Hospital in France, which was then run by the US Army. The 8th and 9th RIR were amalgamated at the end of August 1917.
Late in 1917, Frederick Warman was with the 15th RIR who were part of a major offensive near Cambrai, when tanks were used en masse for the first time. Their assault on part of the Hindenburg line on 22 November was met with stiff resistance and the 15th RIR suffered many casualties. Soon after, Frederick’s wife Florence received news that her husband had been posted missing that day. Florence made enquiries through the Red Cross in the hope that Frederick was still alive. A search was made but the response was ‘négatif envoyé’, Frederick had not been found as a prisoner.
Six months later, in July 1918, Frederick Warman was officially presumed to have died on or since 22 November 1917. Florence was awarded a weekly widow’s pension of 13 shillings and 9 pence on 27 July 1918. She was still at her Stockwell address in 1920 when she made the decision to emigrate to America with her young son John.
Ernest Petley Warman
In 1915, Frederick’s brother Ernest Petley Warman volunteered in Ramsgate. Ernest landed in France on 14 November 1915, as private 53284 of the 18th Royal Fusiliers. Just a few weeks before, he had married Folkestone-born Annie Elizabeth Standing in central London. The couple had first met when Annie was working at the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate, before the outbreak of war. At the end of April 1917, Ernest’s wife Annie learnt that her husband had been posted missing. Not giving up hope, Annie made enquiries via the Red Cross in July 1917. A search was made but nothing was found, and in late 1917 Ernest Petley Warman was presumed to have died on 1 April 1917. Mrs Annie E Warman was awarded a widow’s pension on 29 December.
Ernest Petley Warman is remembered on a grave of the Standing Family in Folkestone and on the Arras Memorial. His widow, married Charles Ernest Boddy in 1929 at St Luke, Berwick Street, Westminster.
John Philip Warman
In 1915, Frederick’s brother John Philip was working as head porter at the Royal Bath Hotel, Bournemouth and he married local-born Hilda Constance Hembury on 16 June. John decided to attest at Bournemouth under Lord Derby’s Group Scheme, under which men could enlist on the understanding that unmarried men would be called up first, in November 1915, hoping to defer his service. He would have been issued with a grey armband and have his National Registration card stamped, “ATTESTED 24 Nov 1915”. John was finally called up on 25 January 1917. At 5ft 10in and weighing 15 stone, John P Warman found himself posted to the 3rd Grenadier Guards for initial training. When medically examined, it was noted he was ‘not fit for marching’. John was sent to France in April 1918, after the death of his brother Ernest and fearing the worse for his missing brother Frederick. He survived the war and returned to his family in early 1919.