Skeyton – War Memorial (Private Frederick Horace Claxton)

Frederick Horace Claxton is commemorated at Skeyton War Memorial, the son of George Philip Claxton (born on 2 January 1860) and Emily Claxton (born on 18 January 1863).

This was a family of farm labourers, although there was a limited amount of other employment in the area that would give many other options. In the 1911 census, there were six people living in the Claxton household, George who was 51 at that time and Emily who was 48. Their children were Philip who was 18, Frederick who was 14, Ada who was 11 and there was also Emily’s mother who lived with them, Marie Saunders who was 79 and was born in Swanton Abbott. George, Philip and Frederick all worked at this stage as farm labourers. It was a large family though, at the 1901 census, the older children of George and Emily also lived with them then, Maud, Thomas and George.

Frederick was born on 19 April 1896 and was baptised with that name on 22 April 1896, although he was listed as Horace in the 1901 census. When the First World War started, he signed up and perhaps was excited by the adventure and chance to be with his friends. He joined the Norfolk Regiment, before later transferring to the Northumberland Fusiliers, in the 1/4th Battalion.

Frederick died on 29 October 1916 and his body wasn’t recovered, but he is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial. This memorial in France commemorates the 72,315 men who died during the Battle of the Somme and whose remains weren’t found.

The 1939 register shows that Frederick’s parents, George and Emily, were living on their own in Neatishead. Frederick’s father, George Philip Claxon, died towards the end of 1945 at the age of 85. I wonder what he thought about seeing another conflict break out across Europe, thinking about the loss of his son just under 30 years before.