Frederick Edwin Mayhew
This biography was written by Victoria Doran
Frederick Edwin Mayhew was one of the very last men to die at a Casualty Clearing Station, being too badly injured to be moved to a hospital.
East Lancashire Regiment cap badge
Frederick Edwin Mayhew was born in late summer 1899 in Westport, Mayo, Ireland the eldest of the 5 children of Frederick John Mayhew (1873-1958) and Emma Elizabeth Voss (1871-1952). He was followed by 3 brothers and finally in 1910 by a sister.
His parents were first cousins. Although both came from South London, they were married in the summer of 1898 in Westport. Possibly the family disapproved and they went to Ireland in order to get married.
Frederick’s great grandfather, Frederick William Mayhew (1821-1879) came from Wissett, a village deep in rural Suffolk. He moved to London as a carpenter, but late in life became a beer retailer. He married Eliza Everist (1818-1891) from Northfleet, Kent and they had 6 sons, all born south of the Thames. Frederick William Mayhew probably held left wing political views as he gave one of his sons the middle name Kossuth after Lajos Kossuth who was Governor President of Hungary during the 1848-9 revolution. Three of the sons worked in the hospitality trade in some form or another, generally running a pub or hotel, or selling alcohol. One set up a dynasty of hairdressers, but Frederick’s grandfather, Thomas Robert Mayhew (1850-1928) spent most of his life as a mercantile clerk, though at times he worked with one or other of his brothers.
Thomas Robert Mayhew married Emily Maria Voss (1852-1911) on 11 August 1872 at St George, Camberwell. The surname Voss is of German and Dutch origin and is first found in Britain in the late 17th century. Emily came from a very long line of Thames watermen, lightermen and pilots from Bermondsey. She was the 7th and youngest child of the very successful pilot John Edward Voss (1801-1875) who left nearly £14,000 when he died (worth about £110,000 in 2016). None of his descendants was as prosperous.
John Edward Voss had married Martha Susannah Henderson (1814-1878) in 1836. Their eldest son, another John Edward Voss (1839-1897) following in his father’s wake on the Thames, also becoming a pilot. He had 2 children by his first wife, Mary Ann Anderson (1841-1869), and was remarried 22 February 1870 to Emma Carpenter (1845-1886). They had 2 daughters of whom the elder was Frederick’s mother Emma. John Edward Voss remarried again after Emma’s death, but had no more children.
Frederick’s father started out as a warehouseman but when he married he was a waiter. Westport in County Mayo was unusual in being a planned town. It is on the coast and was a popular resort when the Mayhew family lived there. By 1911 Frederick’s father was a hotel proprietor in Bridge Street.
It is not known when the family moved to northwest Wirral. They are not listed in the directory for 1914, so it was possibly actually during the war. It is likely that Frederick’s father came to run a hotel, but this is not known for certain.
As Frederick’s military record has not survived we know little about his service. He was probably conscripted when he turned 18 in 1917. He became Private 31615 in the East Lancashire Regiment.
At the time of his death the family were living at 6 Deva Road, West Kirby.
From the Book of Remembrance
we know that he died at a Casualty Clearing Station. He was in the 1st Battalion of his regiment. As part of the 183rd Brigade of the 61st Division under General Byng, they had taken part in the Battle of Valenciennes during the final advance in Picardie and on 1 November 1918 crossed the River Sambre. Probably this is when Frederick was injured, because the battalion was retired from the line on the 2nd / 3rd November, so he is unlikely to have been wounded after that.
Frederick must have been very severely wounded as otherwise he would have been moved to a Base Hospital or even back to England. He was 19 years old. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals. Many severely injured soldiers died in the Casualty Clearing Stations during the war.
His siblings were too young to have served in the war, but his uncle Garnet George Mayhew (1882-1936) served as Gunner 79055 in the 142nd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery following his conscription in 1916. In civilian life he was yet another licensed victualler.
His cousin Private Francis Charles Mayhew (1880-1917), from the hairdressing branch of the family, died at Arras whilst serving in the 6th Battalion of the Royal West Surrey regiment.
Frederick lies buried in Delsaux Farm Cemetery near the village of Beugny in the Pas de Calais, France.
His grave marker bears the inscription
In ever loving memory of our dear son.
God’s will be done
at his mother’s request.
He is also commemorated on Grange Hill War Memorial and the plaques in St Bridget and St Andrew churches, all in West Kirby.
Birth: Sep 1899 at Westport, Mayo, Ireland
Death: 14 Nov 1918 at Casualty Clearing Station near Beugny, Pas de Calais, France
Addresses: North Mall, Westport, Mayo, Ireland (01); Bridge Street, Westport, Mayo, Ireland (11); 6 Deva Road, West Kirby (18)
Occupation: not known
Unit: 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment
Number and Rank: 31615; Private
Medals: Victory & British War
Buried & Commemorated: Delsaux Farm Cemetery, near Beugny, Pas de Calais, France; Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; St Bridget & St Andrew churches, West Kirby
Sources: CWGC, MC, DA, Irish Census: 01, 11, BR, Prob, WK, PR