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Private 16344 Frank Field
1st Battalion (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Royal Berkshire Regiment

Local Information:

Private Field was the son of Alfred and Mary Ann Field, of 15 Charnham Street, Hungerford. Alfred was a mill carter. Alfred and Mary Ann's children were Frank (1894), Edward (1895), Arthur (1901) and Sarah Ann (1903).

He went to France in 1915 and was killed in action on Tuesday 28th September 1915. He has no known grave and is listed on the Loos memorial to the missing, Pas de Calais, France.

It is believed another brother (presumably Edward?) also served in the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment in Salonika surviving the war and later serving in the local Home Guard during the Second World War.

Carole Offer kindly contacted the Virtual Museum (June 2020) to add "Frank Field was the brother of my grandfather Alfred Percy Field (always known as Percy) who served in the 7th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. I have his Demob papers and a postcard of the troopship "HMT Huntspill". He lived in Fairview Road and was a gardener at Eddington House."

Photo Gallery:

royal berkshire
royal berkshire

Regimental Badge of the Royal Berkshires

- Regimental Badge of the Royal Berkshires.

Regimental Information:

The War Diary reads:

[NOTE – This was a major attack which cost the battalion dearly. Also a Victoria Cross was won this day by Lieutenant Turner from Thatcham]

12.30am. Battalion collected from fatigues and working parties in order to attack FOSSE No 8 at 2.30am. Capt Radford DSO went to the Brigade HQ at the VII Divisional Dugouts to explain that the battalion were scattered on fatigues and that the position to be attacked and the approaches were strange to the officers.

Personal message from General Gough (1st Corps) explained that owing to the situation the attack was imperative.

Coys moved in file to the rendezvous A. B. C. D. HQ MGs. Here the battalion formed up in Company Column and advanced towards the objective 800 yards away. During the advance two lines of captured German trenches and two lines of barbed wire had to be crossed - these were manned by British troops.

Owing to the bright moonlight the enemy saw us advancing when we were 400 yards from our objective (FOSSE 8): they put up "very" lights and kept up a continuous rifle fire on us from our right front - this grew heavier as we got nearer.

The Battalion advanced steadily A, B and part of C Coy going straight for the FOSSE. They were unable owing to the heavy fire from the enemy who by this time were manning the top of the FOSSE to gain the slag heap, being checked about 70 yards from it. D and part of C Coy meanwhile advanced and manned the front British trench.

During this time 2nd Lieut A B Turner single handed bombed down a German communication trench driving the enemy before him a distance of over 150 yards. During the whole of this period the Germans were throwing bombs at 2/Lt Turner. While performing this very gallant act he was mortally wounded. By this time it was known that the CO Major Bird was wounded and Capt Radford DSO 2nd in command was killed.

In consequence the command devolved on Capt C W Frizzell who was in command of the rear company D: also by this time Colonel Carter the Brigadier was up in the first trench.

Seeing that the first two companies were checked Colonel Carter gave Captain Frizzell the order to charge with the remaining men available. This order was carried out. The leading men with Capt Frizzell in front got halfway up the slag heap when the Germans from the top threw bombs on our heads. This checked our further advance and the men retired to the front British trench, a distance of 150 yards.

As it was now getting daylight and the men were all rather exhausted Colonel Carter decided not to attack again. He ordered Capt Frizzell to re-organize in our old trenches.

Casualties. Killed. Capt M C Radford DSO. Died of wounds 2/Lt A B Turner.
Missing. Capt E N Getting, 2/Lt P C Rawson 2/Lt R A Summers, 2/Lt J W B Blazey.
Wounded and missing. Lieut G F M Hall.
Wounded. Major L W Bird, Lt E F Eager, Lt D E Ward, 2/Lt Haigh, 2/Lt W S Mackey and Capt Adj C St Q Fullbrook Leggatt DSO.
Other ranks. Killed 17 missing 143 wounded 115. Total 288

Search parties under Captain Large were untiring in the devoted manner they searched for the wounded.
The 1/2 Battalion 1st KRR were not able to reach the rendezvous and attack with us. Also the bombing parties from the regiments on our flanks were not there.

Captain C W Frizzell took over the command and reorganized the Battalion in our original position. He had with him Lieuts Ward, Jerwood, Chace and Jackson.

Lieut Ward sent to hospital wounded in the neck by Capt Large RAMC MO 1st Berks, who in the advanced British line had joined a dressing station - he worked with untiring devotion in evacuating the wounded.

Lieut E L Jerwood acted as adjutant to Captain Frizzell. Captain Gregson Ellis and 2/Lt Blackburn returned from hospital and the reserve officers came up from VERMELLES Lieuts Hilliard, Stokes, Green and Nicholls, also 16 reserve NCO's rejoined.

The day was spent in reorganizing the companies - many men returned in afternoon as they manned the trenches while an attack was made on FOSSE 8 by the Buffs - Yorkshire Regt on our right - Royal Fusiliers on our left.

[Private Field from Hungerford was one of the 288 casualties]


Brian Withers emailed (November 2022) with the following information about the sad death of Alfred George Field of Hungerford. He wondered if he was one of Frank Field's brothers from Charnham Street. However, I think Alfred George was the son of Richard and Sarah Field of Down Pitts (now Down View), Hungerford. Richard was a bricklayer's labourer with seven children (in 1911): Margaret (1900), Richard (1902), James (1903), George (1904), Frederick (1907) Edwrd (1908) and Reginald (1910). I suspect that Alfred George was recorded as George.

"I’m sure most of your members would be aware of the Battle Cruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the British fleet between the wars and her subsequent loss in the Denmark straight during the attempt to sink the German battleship Bismark. At that battle, the Hood was struck by a shell from Bismark which resulted in a magazine explosion sinking her within minutes and with the loss of all hands bar three survivors.

A recent biography of that visit has recently come to light and whilst reading it I came across this sad note.

Not too much is documented of HMS Hood’s first foray in 1922 into the southern seas, the year before the Empire Cruise, when she sailed to Brazil to represent the United Kingdom at the Brazilian Centenary celebrations.

HMS Hood left Gibraltar on Sunday 20th August setting course for Cape Verde Islands.

Tragedy intervened. At 21.00 on Sunday 22nd August. Hood’s log records, “Carried out search for Boy Field reported missing. Presumed fallen overboard and drowned.” Alfred George Field was 17 years old. Born in Hungerford on 3rd September 1904 he had entered the Navy in March 1920 and had joined Hood on 8th December 1921.

This may have been the first death on Hood whilst at sea. There are no more details of the parents of this Boy Seaman but it could have been reported in the local paper. Perhaps the Newbury Weekly News.

I am local living in Newbury but I do have connections to Hungerford. You may be in a better place than me to investigate this further but if you do come across anything, I would be interested as I am a member of the “Chough, Hood Society”."