Private Frederick Charles Grist

Date of Birth c. 1892
Age at Death 24
Date of Death 7 October 1916
Service Number 533110
Military Service 1st Battalion London Regiment
Merton Address 136 Merton Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

Frederick Charles Grist was born in Wimbledon c1892, the son of Catherine and Charles Grist. His father was a grocer’s assistant, his mother a confectionary shopkeeper. He had an older sister Florence Kate. The family lived at 136 Merton Road, Wimbledon. Frederick attended Rutlish School. By 1911 he was working as a boy clerk in the Civil Service and his sister was a sewing teacher. Both were still living at home.

Frederick enlisted in the 5th Battalion East Surrey Regiment early in the war, but was transferred to the London Regiment in 1916 and posted to the front that year as a private in Platoon 12, “C” Company, 1st/15th Battalion, London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles). The battalion arrived on the Somme in September 1916 and was involved in a costly attack on High Wood, where its casualties totalled 370. Barely two weeks later, on October 7th, it was to take part in an attack on the Butte de Warlincourt.

The attack by Private Grist’s battalion and two other London Regiment battalions - 1/7th (City of London) and 8th Post Office Rifles - was a complete failure. The 47th (London) Division history tells us that they ‘met the full force of the enemy artillery and machine gun fire, cleverly sited in depth, so as to bring a withering cross fire to bear along the western slopes leading up to the Butte and the high ground to the south of it. From across the valley the enemy had magnificent observation of the ground leading to our objective and made full use of it…not a man turned back, and some got right up under the Butte, but they were not seen again.”

The attack had started at 1345 with the creeping barrage moving forward too fast and the War Diary says that the battalion was ”badly cut up”. Casualties, which included Frederick, numbered 354.

Frederick’s body was never identified and he is commemorated at Rutlish School and on the Thiepval Memorial Pier 13 Face C. The Thiepval Memorial bears the names of 72,194 officers and men who died in the Somme battle sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.

By the time of his death Private Grist’s parents were living at 1, South Park Road, Wimbledon.


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