Frederick George Yewdall
Lieutenant, 20th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Born 7 March 1891 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Died 18 May 1918 at 257 Stanhope Road, South Shields. Cause of death (i) Influenza (ii) Pneumonia (double) 4 days
Buried at South Shields (Harton) Cemetery
Frederick George Yewdall was the only child of John Yewdall (1856-1934) and Phoebe Patience Budden (Patrina, 1849-1926). Patience, from Bridport, Dorset, was a widow and when Fred was born she was 42 years old, John, from Leeds, was 34. The 1891 Census reveals the family lived at 117 Castle Road, Scarborough. John was a retired solicitor and they lived with baby Fred’s Nurse, Jessie Nelson (58) and 19 year old Ada Macdonald, a domestic help. Ten years later the family were at the same address but had no servants and John was a Clerk to the Corporation. They had moved to Glen Lea on Station Road, Scalby, by 1911. Fred was a Farm Pupil and John Clerk to the Health Department of Scarborough Borough Council.
Fred Yewdall answered Kitchener’s Call, and joined the Territorial Army in West Ayton on 5 October 1914 with the service number 2332 in the 1/5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He was 5ft 11 inches tall but his physical development was described as, rather poor. He had contracted nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) while in Australia and suffered from it for the rest of his life. He was promoted to Sergeant the following month in 2/5th Battalion and would have trained with them in Darlington, Benton and Catterick. He transferred to 3/5th Battalion in Redcar on 26 June 1915. Fred obtained a commission in the 20th Battalion (Wearside) of the Durham Light Infantry, with 123 Brigade, 41st Division, on in January 1916. The Battalion was at Aldershot preparing to go to France and sailed on 4 May from Southampton to Le Havre. They remained in Flanders when the Battle of the Somme began and did not go to the front there until 6 September, moving up to attack German defences at Flers, north of Delville Wood on 16th when they suffered heavy casualties.
2/Lt Fred Yewdall was invalided home from France on 18 October 1916 with nephritis, worsened by trench fever. He was sent to the London Hospital on 5 December 1916 and his medical notes show it was recommended that after rest and treatment (he) should go to duty in a warm climate. Instead he joined 3rd Reserve Bn D.L.I. on January 1917 and was deemed only fit for home service on 26 March when he complained of a sudden loss of vision in his left eye. This was constantly reviewed, until the notes say, Died suddenly of double pneumonia.
The Scarborough Mercury of 24 May 1918 reports, DEATH OF A LIEUTENANT – Lieut. G. G. Yewdall, D.L.I. , Glen Lea, has died at a Shields hospital from pneumonia, following on influenza. He had previously, some months ago, been invalided home from France suffering from Trench Fever. Deceased was born in Scarborough and was educated at Wheater’s Grammar School. He had just returned from Australia, where he had been three years, when the war broke out. He then joined up and was a sergeant for a year before receiving his commission. The funeral took place on Tuesday at South Shields, the interment being attended by full military honours. There was a firing party of forty men. The band of the D.L.I played Chopin’s Funeral March. The coffin was followed by fifty officers and a large body of men. The “Last Post” was sounded. There were a large number of wreaths.
AN OLD CRICKETER – Lieut. Yewdall, of Scalby, whose death we record this week, was well known at the village where amongst other activities before he went out to Australia he was a playing member of the Cricket Club.
Fred’s officer’s records reveal his relatives were with him at the end. The records also include a long list of his personal belongings. They include his cricket boots, trousers, shirt and belt, a pipe, 1 packet of visiting cards, a crucifix, Bible, prayer book, compass, bicycle, pair of riding boots and 1 dog. Most of the belongings were sent to Fred’s parents by post but his landlady, Mrs Edith Campbell, took receipt of the dog, trench boots and an attache case and a Sgt. Cushen took receipt of the cycle. Both of the Yewdalls caught the flu but luckily recovered. Mrs Campbell visited them in Scarborough in mid June, which, John Yewdall wrote in a letter to Fred’s senior officer, Major Gale, cheered up Mrs Yewdall.
John and Phoebe Yewdall moved out of Scalby at the end of the war, to 20 Oak Road, Scarborough.