Frederick Stanley Gosling was born in Chelmsford and worked as a grocer and then as an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company. He served in the army and was killed in action in October 1916 in the Battle of the Somme. His family home was in New London Road.

Frederick was born in Chelmsford on 23rd November 1879, the second son of John Gosling and Frances (Fanny) Gosling (nee Lampard). He was baptised at London Road Congregational Church, Chelmsford on 27th May 1881. Frederick’s father had been born in Chelmsford in 1840; his mother, in 1850 in Hollingbourne, Kent. They had married in Chelmsford late in 1875.

GOSLING, FREDERICK STANLEY, Lance Corporal, 11th (Service) Battalion

(1st South Downs), Royal Sussex Regiment (formerly of the Army Cyclist Corps)

The battalion participated in various actions in the Battle of the Somme including Fighting on the Ancre, the Battle of the Thiepval Ridge, the Battle of the Ancre Heights, and the Capture of the Schwaben Redoubt. Frederick was killed in action on 21st October 1916 with the battalion while serving as Lance Corporal 15723. On that particular day his battalion was in action north of Thiepval capturing Stuff Trench. Its war diary recorded:

“21st October 1916 - Redoubt Sector. The battalion captured the German front Line (Stuff Trench). ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies assaulted. ‘A’ and ‘D’ Companies reinforced them in the front line. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy and many prisoners taken. 2 officers killed and 2 wounded. 11 other ranks killed, 186 wounded and 77 missing.”

Another Chelmsford man, Harry Sidney Lapwood, died in the same action.

The Essex County Chronicle of 24th November 1916 reported:

“Mr. John Gosling, of 22 London Road, Chelmsford, has received an intimation from the War Office that his son, Pt. Fredk. Stanley Gosling, who was attached to the Royal Sussex, is reported missing.”

On 29th December 1916 the same paper carried the following report:

“Pt. Fred. Stanley Gosling, second son of Mr. John Gosling, London Road, Chelmsford, who a few weeks since was reported missing, is now reported as wounded.”

The Essex County Chronicle of 31st August 1917 then reported:

“Mr. John Gosling, of 22 London Road, Chelmsford, whose second son. Pt. Fred Stanley Gosling, Royal Sussex Regt., was previously reported missing on Oct. 21 last., has received official intimation that  his son was killed in an engagement of that date. Deceased was 37 years of age, and prior to joining up was a successful agent with the Prudential Assurance Company at Brentwood. Previously he was manager of a grocery establishment in Walworth Road, London.”

A similar report was included in the same day’s Essex Weekly News:

“Mr. John Gosling, 22, New London-rd., Chelmsford, has received official intimation that his second son. Pte. Fred. S. Gosling, Royal Sussex Regt., who was previously reported to be missing, was killed in an engagement on Oct. 21 last.”

Frederick’s siblings (all Chelmsford-born) included George Percy Gosling (born in 1876), Fanny Sampford Gosling (1878-1968), Herbert Sidney Gosling (1881-1960), Kate Gosling (1884-1976) and Edith Annie Gosling (born in 1889).

The 1881 census recorded one year-old Frederick resident with his parents, grandfather, and two elder siblings at his grandfather’s premises at 59 High Street, Chelmsford. His grandfather, John Gosling, was a bootmaker; Frederick’s father was a manager of a business (presumably the bootmakers).

A decade later 11 year-old Frederick remained at the premises, accompanied by his parents, four siblings, two boarders and a visitor. His father was employed as a bootmaker, his grandfather having died in 1887.

At the time of the 1901 census, Frederick, aged 22, was living with his cousin (Herbert Lampard), the latter’s wife and two men at 102 Craven Park Road, Willesden, Middlesex. All were employed as grocers. Meanwhile Frederick’s father, now an antiques dealer, was living at 22 New London Road, Chelmsford, accompanied by Frederick’s mother youngest sister, three boarders and a visitor.

Frederick’s mother died early in 1907. Four years later the 1911 census found 31 year-old Frederick and his eldest brother boarding with Elizabeth Salmon and her family at 295 Walworth Road in London. Frederick was a grocer’s manager. His brother was a picture pianist at a cinema.

Later Frederick worked as an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company in Brentwood.

Frederick enlisted at Warley and saw service as Private 673 in the Army Cyclist Corps. He also served in the 11th (Service) Battalion (1st South Downs) of the Royal Sussex Regiment, a New Army battalion that was formed in Bexhill in September 1914 and landed at Le Havre in March 1916. It was the battalion of the war poet and writer Edmund Blunden from May 1916 until February 1918.

Frederick has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, near Albert, Somme, France, on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, and at the London Road Congregational Church, Chelmsford.

He was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

The 1918 register of electors no longer listed Frederick’s father at 22 New London Road (subsequently renumbered as 66, and pictured). He left Chelmsford before the war’s end and moved to 25 Oakhurst Grove in East Dulwich, Surrey. He died in 1928. On 6th December 1929 the Essex Chronicle reported:

“Death of Mr. John Gosling.—We regret to announce the death, at Sydenham, on Sunday, only four months short of his 90th year, of Mr. John Gosling, a well-known native of Chelmsford, where he lived until about ten years ago, when he moved London.

He formerly had a bootmaker business in Chelmsford. and latterly dealt antiques. A great authority on "Old Chelmsford," he was frequently consulted on matters concerning the history the town, and he contributed a good deal of interest to The Essex Chronicle.

He was one of the original members of Chelmsford " Odde Volumes” and also a member of the orchestra of the old Chelmsford Musical Society, playing the violin. Mr. Gosling, who had a very kindly, likeable nature, leaves two sons and three daughters - Messrs. Percy and Sydney Gosling, and Mrs. B. Smith, Mrs. F. W. Mahon, and Mrs. W. Budd. His second son. Frederick, was killed in the Great War. His wife pre-deceased him by 20 years. Councillor C. E. Gosling, of Chelmsford, is a nephew. The funeral was at Sydenham onThursday.”