Pte. F.C. Dawson

2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

Frederick Charles Dawson was born on 3rd April 1891 in Romford, Essex, to Charles and Amelia Dawson. Once he turned 18, Frederick began working as a Stock Clerk in the Iron Trade and living with his parents and siblings in Beckenham, Kent.

He enlisted in September 1914 with the 6th Battalion London Regiment and finished his training on 16th March 1915, leaving straight for France the next day. Frederick was still serving with the 6th Battalion when he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, along with the Victory Medal and British War Medal. Frederick went on to serve with the 30th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers in December 1917. Whilst with the 2nd he joined the 86th Brigade of the 29th Division, also known as the ‘Incomparable Division’.

Dawson 29th DivWhilst with the Division at the Battle of Ledeghem in October 1918, Frederick’s conduct on the 10th October was very highly praised. He was awarded a certificate signed by the Major-General of the Division, Douglas Edward Cayley, shortly after;
I have read with much pleasure the reports of your Regimental Commander and Brigade Commander regarding your gallantry, conduct and devotion to duty in the field on 10th Oct 1918 near Ledegham, and have ordered your name and deed to be entered in the record of the 29th Division.

Indeed, we do find Frederick in the Divisional War Diary in February 1919;

The Undermentioned have been awarded decorations... for gallantry and devotion to duty... over the period 23rd September 1918 to 11th November 1918... 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers... 800777 Pte F. C. Dawson, MM

Just a few days later, on 15th October, Frederick received gun shot wounds to both legs and one of his eyes was also badly damaged (sources differ on whether it was the left or right eye). Frederick was recovering from his wounds in a Military Hospital when he found out that the war was over. He was discharged on 14th March 1919.

He also won the Military Medal shortly before he was wounded. This could have been awarded for his actions on 10th October, or potentially from the attacks at Ledegham on 14th October. Frederick was also given the Silver War Badge, which was bestowed to all military personnel who had served at home or overseas and who had ben discharged due to wounds or illness.

Frederick married Nellie Baker in 1916 in Lewisham, and they lived in Sydenham whilst Frederick was serving. They moved to Brighton in their later years and Frederick died in 1973 at the age of 82.