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  • Family gravestone, Nottingham Church (Rock) Cemetery.  Photograph Rachel Farrand (March 2016).
Person Details
22 Aug 1879
Basford, Nottingham
He was the eldest son of William Godfrey and Sarah Ann Godfrey (nee Tomlinson) who had at least four children; Ada, Frederick, William and John. In 1881 William, a lace maker, and Sarah were living at 5 Gawthorne Terrace, Basford; they had two children, Ada (9) and Frederick (1). By 1891 they were living at 88 Egypt Road with their four children and also two boarders, Anthony Tomlinson (32), a widower, and his son William (12). Anthony was probably Sarah Ann's relative as her maiden name was Tomlinson. William and Sarah had moved to 3 Mosely Street, Basford by 1901 and only their two sons William (19) and John (17) were still at home. Frederick had already joined the army by this time and their daughter, Ada, had married and was living in Preston. Sarah was widowed by 1911 and living with her married daughter, Ada, her son-in-law, George Gelsthorp, a commercial traveller for a tobacco company, and their son, George Frederick (6), in Preston. Frederick, a colour sergeant with the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, was stationed in Aldershot at Blenheim Barracks, Marlborough Lines. Frederick married Olive Florence Ball on 23 October 1912 in the registration district of Windsor, and they had two sons, Arthur Frederick (29 December 1913) and Anthony (9 May 1916). At the time of Frederick's death they were living at 21 Edward Street, Hampstead Road, London. His widow later lived at 'Wroxham', Furze Platt, Maidenhead (CWGC).
He was a regular soldier, serving in the Grenadier Guards for 21 years from December 1895. He volunteered for foreign service with the 3rd Bn The London Regiment (TF) on 1 September 1914.
16 Aug 1916
37
608753 - CWGC Website
Captain
  • MM MM Military Medal
  • MD MD Mentioned in Despatches
4th Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
He previously served 21 years with the Grenadier Guards. He was killed in action at Guillemont and is buried in Serre Road No. 2 (grave ref. 25.D.1). UK De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour: ‘Godfrey, Frederick (‘Dan’), Capt, 4th Battn The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regt) eldest s. of the late William Godfrey of New Basford, Nottingham, by his wife, Sarah Ann, dau. of the late William Tomlinson, b. New Basford 22 Aug. 1879, educ. there; enlisted in the 2nd Grenadier Guards Dec 1895; served with the 1st Battn. In the Sudan Expedition 1898; was present at the Battles of Atbara and Omdurman (Medal, Egyptian Medal) and with the 2nd Battn. In the South African War 1899-1902 (Queen’s Medal with three clasps; King’s Medal with two clasps); became Sergt. in 1903; Drill-Sergt, 3rd Battn 1912, and Regtl. Sergt.-Major 3rd Battn, The London Regt. (TF) May, 1914; volunteered with this regiment for foreign service 1 Sept. 1914; left for Malta 5 Sept; joined the Expeditionary Force in France in Jan 1915; was given a commission for service in the field, and gazetted 2nd Lieut Royal Fusiliers 2 June 1916, being promoted Capt. three days before his death, and was killed in action at Guillemont 16 Aug. 1916. Four successive attacks on that place having failed, a fifth was ordered. ‘Capt. Godfrey was in command of Z Coy’, wrote the Adjutant, ‘and took them forward in a most gallant manner. He was hit soon after the charge began, but went on with his company until he was hit again and killed. He was a splendid Company Commander … I should like to tell you that he was recommended for the Military Cross for his good work during the recent operations in Delville Wood. He was very popular amongst his men and most popular amongst his officers.’ He was awarded the Medaille Militaire 6 Nov. 1915 and was mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette, 15 June 1916) by General (now F.M.) Sir Douglas Haig for gallant and distinguished service in the field. As a Colour-Sergt. of the 2nd Battn. he was chosen for a model of a ‘present day Grenadier Guardsman’ to make up a set of four, 1660, 1705, 1812 and 1910. He had received the Royal Victorian medal in 1910 and the Long Service Medal in 1914 and was one of the bearers at the funeral of King Edward VII. Captain Godfrey was a well-known figure on the football and cricket fields as well as on the track. In 1907 he captained the Grenadier Guards’ team which won the Army Football Cup at Aldershot. He had no superior as a centre-half in the Army, and represented that branch of the service on three occasions, whilst he had also six county badges. In both brigade and battalion sports he held the record for the greatest number of prizes won, and he established new figures for the Army in both the 100 yards’ sprint and the long jump. He m. 23 Oct. 1912 Olive Florence (21, Edward Street, Hampstead Road, NW) 2nd dau. of Henry Best of Windsor, and had two sons: Arthur Frederick b. 29 Dec 1913, and Anthony b. 9 May 1916.’
Inscription on family gravestone, Nottingham Church (Rock) Cemetery: 'Glory be to God for the dear memory of Frederick Godfrey, Captain 4th Royal Fusiliers, formerly of the Grenadier Guards, for the life of manly obedience, for his death of courageous self sacrifice. He was born August 22nd 1879; from the battlefield of France on Aug 16th 1916 his brave soul returned to God.' Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 24 August 1916: ‘Godfrey. Killed in action, August 16th, Second-Lieut. Fred Godfrey, Grenadier Guards (attached Royal Fusiliers)), of New Basford, in his 37th year, after 20 years’ service.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) “KILLED. “LIEUT. FREDK. GODFREY. “The death is reported in action on August 16th of Second-Lieut. Godfrey, Royal Fusiliers, who was twice struck while leading his men in a charge, the second shot proving fatal. The deceased officer was a Basford man, where his brother is still in business. He had risen from the ranks, and his career was in many respects remarkable. Nearly twenty-one years ago he enlisted as private in the Grenadier Guards, and served in Egypt and in the Soudan, being present at the battle of Omdurman, and afterwards went through the Boer war. Later he became sergeant-major to the 3rd Battalion London Regiment, with which he went to France 18 months ago, and in June last was given his commission for notable service in the field. He had the Royal Victorian Medal for special service, and last November Sir Douglas Haig pinned on his breast the French Medaille Militaire. He was one of the party of the late King's Company of the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, who bore that monarch to his tomb. “Lieut. Godfrey was a fine athlete. In 1907 he captained the Grenadier Guards' team that won the Army Football Cup, and in both brigade and battalion sports he held the record for the greatest number of prizes won, having established new records for the army in the 100 yards' sprint and long jump.” [1] Further information was printed a couple of days later. “Second-Lieut. Frederick Godfrey, of the Royal Fusiliers, was the eldest son of the late Mr. Wm. Godfrey, of New Basford, and of Mrs. S. A. Godfrey. He joined the Grenadiers in the ranks in 1895, took part in the battle of Omdurman during the Egyptian campaign, and served through the South African war without injury. He was captain of the Grenadier Guards “Soccer” team which won the Army Cup in 1907, and was a fine centre-half. He also held the army record for the long jump and the 100 yards. He was decorated with the Royal Victorian Order for special service in 1910, received the Long Service Medal in 1914, and was the recipient of the Medaille Militaire in November last year [1915]. He was given a commission in June of this year [1916] for service in the field. Lieut. Godfrey was one of the bearer party at the funeral of King Edward VII.” [2] Articles were published (1) 'Nottingham Evening Post', 30th August 1916 and (2) 'Nottingham Evening Post', 1st September 1916. Both are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Probate: Godfrey Frederick of 21 Edward-street Hampstead-road Middlesex lieutenant (sic) Royal Fusiliers died 17 (sic) August 1916 in France Administration (with Will) London 6 October [1916] to Olive Florence Godfrey widow. Effects £305.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Family gravestone, Nottingham Church (Rock) Cemetery.  Photograph Rachel Farrand (March 2016).
    Captain Frederick Godfrey - Family gravestone, Nottingham Church (Rock) Cemetery. Photograph Rachel Farrand (March 2016).
  • Family gravestone, Nottingham Church (Rock) Cemetery; detail of carving of medals.  Photograph Rachel Farrand (March 2016).
    Captain Frederick Godfrey - Family gravestone, Nottingham Church (Rock) Cemetery; detail of carving of medals. Photograph Rachel Farrand (March 2016).
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Serre Road Cemetery No 2.  Photograph Murray Biddle.
    Frederick Godfrey - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Serre Road Cemetery No 2. Photograph Murray Biddle.