Frederick was born in Newick in 1891, the second child of James Langridge, a bricklayer’s labourer from Newick, and his wife Eliza, who was born in Somerset. By 1901, Frederick, his parents, and older brother Ernest were living in Allington Road. Frederick attended the village school between 1899 and 1905. By 1911, the family consisting of James. Eliza, Ernest, Frederick (spelt ‘Fredrick’), and a grandson, Lynton Hammatt were still living in Allington Road. Frederick was working as a domestic gardener, and Ernest unusually as a ‘Golf Caddie’. On a sporting theme, Charles was a relative of the cricketing Langridges remembered in one of Newick’s road names
According to a newspaper article published after his death Frederick continued to work as a gardener up until he enlisted. He had been in the employment of the late H. S. Hughes of Holly Grove and of Mr. W.G. Coleworth of Chailey, and 1915 he was working for the Corporation of Lewes.
Frederick joined up in November 1915 in Lewes, along with his schoolfriend Edward Smith (his story is told at the school). No. 3470 Private Langridge joined the Royal Sussex Regiment, and was posted to the 5th Battalion, an old territorial unit. He sailed for France on 14th April 1916.
The War Diary of the 5th Battalion shows that ’22 draft from Base arrived’ on 21st April, while the Battalion was located on the Somme.
The War Diary gives few details of the men’s time on the Somme, but Private Langridge was wounded on 11th August 1916, whilst the Sussex men were in trenches at Ovillers. He returned to active service in January 1917. Following the reorganisation of the Territorial Force in March, he became TF240997 Private Langridge.
In early July of 1917, the Battalion travelled north to the Ypres Salient, in preparation for the Third Battle of Ypres, usually referred to as the Battle of Passchendaele. The War Diary is sadly sparse in detail for the period, and for the 7th July 1917, while the Battalion was encamped to the rear of the line near Poperinge, the entry reads only ‘Bivouacs and Transport lines heavy shelled’. According to various official records Frederick Langridge was killed on that day. He was 26 years old. The Battalion moved to Italy in November 1917, and the War Diary gives casualty figures of ‘2 officers and 39 ORs killed, 7 Officers and 306 ORs wounded’ for the four months the battalion spent in the Salient.
A report in The East Sussex News of Friday 20th July 1917 gives more details in the form of a letter of condolence from his commanding officer:
Dear Mrs Langridge,
It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you that your son (Pte. F. Langridge) was killed yesterday by a shell which burst near his bivouac. Please accept the sincere sympathy of all his officers and comrades in his Company. We shall miss him greatly and for myself, I can say that his loss will be felt very much indeed, as he was such an excellent soldier and good worker, and was one of the best men in the Company. The one poor consolation is that he was killed instantly and did not suffer. His platoon officer Lieut. Gibson is away on leave, but I am sure he would like to send his deepest regrets and there is no-one likely to feel his loss more than he in the Company.
Believe me to be, yours sincerely
B. Whiteman (Capt.)
Frederick Langridge is buried in Gwalia Cemetery, between Ypres and Poperinge, Belgium, an isolated site approached by a grass track, leading from a lay-by on the N333 Steentjesmolenstraat. The unusual name has associations with Wales, but the reason the burial ground bears the name is far from certain. The cemetery lies amid quiet fields that were filled with army camps during the Great War. He was among the first to be buried in the cemetery, which was opened in early July 1917. The site contains the remains of 467 Commonwealth servicemen. It was closed in September 1918. The personal inscription on the grave reads ‘HE GAVE HIS LIFE THAT WE MIGHT LIVE’, chosen by his mother. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfeld.
Closer to home, Private Langridge is named on the school and church memorials, at The Green, and in the Roll of Honour and Book of Remembrance held in the church. His name also appears on the 5th Battalion panel in St George’s Chapel, Chichester Cathedral. The chapel was rededicated as the Memorial Chapel of the Royal Sussex Regiment on 11th November 1921. The names of the 6,800 men from the Regiment who fell during the Great War are listed there in battalion order. They include nineteen men with connections to Newick. The names of the 1,024 men from the Regiment killed during the Second World War, including one from Newick, Private Wilfred Anger, killed in action near Monte Cassino in 1944, are recorded in a Memorial Book kept beside the chapel’s altar.
Private Langridge was entitled to the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. Frederick’s records show that his parents James and Eliza moved to Hadlow Down at some point, but states that Frederick was a ‘Native of Newick, Sussex’. As he was unmarried, Frederick’s medals were presumably sent to his parents.
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