Norwich – Earlham Cemetery (Frederick Thomas William Jillings)

This is the war grave of Frederick Thomas William Jillings, located at Earlham Cemetery, but not in the main Commonwealth War Graves section. Frederick was born in Lowestoft in 1901, his parents being Frederick and Ellen Jillings, who lived at 11 Bevan Street in the town. Frederick (the elder) had a boot repairing shop and Frederick had two older sisters, Elsie and Florence.

By the 1911 census, the family had moved to 4 Gertrude Road in Norwich, with Frederick the older being a boot machinist, as were Frederick’s two older sisters. When the First World War broke out, Frederick was only 13 and since only 18 year olds were ever conscripted, it probably felt a long way away for him. There was sadness in the family though in 1917, when Ellen died, leaving her husband and three children.

The First World War loomed large though and Frederick joined up in mid-1918, just when the conflict looked like it might be coming to an end. He was sent to join Number 2 Southern Company in Hampshire, but was then moved to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in Blackpool. Above is a painting (© IWM Art.IWM ART 3681) of the inspection tent for the RAMC in the town, which is the unit that Frederick was sent to. At this time Frederick was told he needed glasses during his medical inspection and it’s a nice thought that he was perhaps one of the soldiers in the image….

Unfortunately, Frederick’s war came to an end after just 149 days of service, he became ill and was transferred to Colchester General Hospital. He died there of bronco-pneumonia on 12 February 1919, at the age of just 18.

As an aside, Frederick (the older) continued living at his property at 4 Gertrude Road in Norwich until his death in 1944, with his two remaining children both staying single and living with him. They must have been fiercely difficult years for him during the First World War, losing his wife and son within just a couple of years each other.