The Old and the Bold

Reginald Percy Froggatt


Reginald Percy Froggatt’s birth was registered in Wortley Registration District in September Qtr. 1887 and in 1891 he is shown as having been born in Chapeltown, part of the Ecclesfield civil parish in northern Sheffield.


The three censuses from 1891 through to 1911 show Reginald living at Chapeltown House in Lound Side, Chapeltown with his parents William and Amanda and an ever increasing number of siblings where, by 1911, he was one of eight children.


The 1911 census records him as a 23 year old Auctioneer and Valuer so it would appear unlikely that Reginald had had any previous military experience prior to the Great War.


Sometime around mid-March 1915 Reginald attested and was approved for service as a Private with the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, being allotted service number 14992.  He proceeded overseas as such with the battalion on 10th April 1915 aboard the “Neuralia”.  An appointment to Lance Corporal followed whilst overseas and it would appear that he served overseas until April 1919 when he returned to the UK.  He was then transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 9th May 1919.


For his service with the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers Reginald earned the 1914/1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.



Sources:

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920

WO 329/2636: 1914/1915 Star, Royal Fusiliers other ranks, Medal Roll

WO 329/764: British War & Victory Medal, Royal Fusiliers other ranks, Medal Roll.

1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census

England & Wales Birth Records


First published in;

The Leeds Mercury, Friday, 10th September, 1915

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Reginald Percy Froggatt

Lance-Corporal Reg. Froggatt, of Chapeltown, near Sheffield, who is serving with the Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen) in British East Africa, sends the following deeply interesting account of hostilities there:-

“Lord Kitchener sent a message of congratulation after the big success at Bukoba, and the best joke is that the Kaiser also sent a message to his mob congratulating them on their ‘victory’.  If these are the sort of victories the Germans brag about, they must be in a bad way.

“In the fight the Germans floated a tremendous Red Cross over their big gun, but this dodge didn’t act, and we captured it.  One of our officers is an old game hunter, and knows all the country around like a book.  He is a wonderful old gentleman, and must bear a charmed life.  I won’t mention his name, but I might say that some of Rider Haggard’s tales are woven around him.  It was a complete win for us at Bukoba.

“We cleared them out in two days, and there wasn’t a soul left when we entered.  The Germans had kindly left the tables laid for dinner in most of the big houses, and the stores, &c., being handy, you may guess that some hungry boys had quite a happy little time.

“It is rather exciting though when the bullets are buzzing all around and cracking against the rocks by your side.  There are some cool old spirits in our party, and one sees some wonderful actions at such times.  It is rather funny when you get round a rock and find a chap calmly opening a tin of jam with the machine-guns pumping away at you all the time.

“The life out here is naturally wild, and we have got so used to it now that we do not take much notice of animals unless they show up nasty, which is by no means an unusual occurrence.  The lions are pretty keen watchers at the water-holes just now.  It may be that water is getting scarcer.

“Not far from here a few of us were escorted away from a water hole by a lioness.  Next morning the lioness was there again, along with two lions lying each side of the hole.  They just lifted their heads and gave us a look which was quite sufficient to say: ‘You cannot have any of this water to-day.’  Of course, if the enemy is about you cannot start showing your authority by letting off your gun, or you would soon find yourself in a very interesting little skirmish.

“It sometimes pays to let the lions think they are masters of the situation.  Some of our experiences would take a lot of believing by the good people over there who do not know the country and its queer places and people.

“We have lost a few good fellows, but you can take it from me that for every one we lose the enemy have to pay dearly.  There is some art in the ‘scrapping’ out here.  It isn’t wholesale murder, as it is in France.”

First published in;

The Sheffield Daily Independent, Thursday, 25th November, 1915

IN BRITISH EAST AFRICA


Lance-Corporal R. Froggatt, of the Royal Fusiliers Frontiersmen, writing from British East Africa to his friends in Chapeltown, says:- “For the fellow who can stand it, the life here is certainly a fine one…. We see some of the finest sights in the way of sunsets that is possible.  On three sides from where I write are mountains which turn all colours as the sun goes down.  If you could spend a little time here you would appreciate Rider Haggard’s books and begin to think that some of them are not so far-fetched after all.”