1st Bn South Wales Borderers
Killed in Action 26/09/1914, Aged 28
No Known Grave, but Remembered on :
La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, France,
War Memorial, Bepton, West Sussex
Son of Albert and Mary Grace Aylwin, of Bepton, Midhurst,
Brother of Laurence Ernest Aylwin of Bepton, Midhurst, Sussex who
also died in the First World War.
(incorrectly remembered on the Ewhurst Memorials as Fred Alwyn)
La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, France,
FREDERICK JAMES AYLWIN was born in 1886 in Bepton,
near Midhurst, West Sussex. He was the middle son of Albert and Mary
Grace Aylwin, his brothers being Albert, who was born in 1878 and
Lawrence Ernest, who was born in 1892. The family lived in Rose Cottage,
Bepton Common, where Frederick's father was a labourer on the local
farms, and by 1901 his elder brother had become a cowman.
Frederick moved out of the family home to live in a shop Easebourne,
north of Midhurst, where he worked for Mr William Page as a grocer's
assistant. On 29th September 1902 Frederick's father Albert died at the
age of 55, and was buried in the graveyard of St Mary's Church, Bepton.
At some stage it is likely that Frederick joined the pre war Army, and
by 1911 he was residing at the old Bull's Head public house in
Ewhurst, which was situated on The Mount near the site of the War
Memorial (the property now being known as the Old Post Office). He was
employed by Eliza Mannell in the Bull's Head as a barman. During
this time he was a Reserve Soldier with the 1st Battalion South Wales
Borderers, based at Bordon, near Aldershot. On 16th August 1913
Frederick was a witness with Nora Cumber at the marriage of
to Margaret Povey at the Church of St Peter and St Paul's, Ewhurst.
TO FRANCE WITH THE B.E.F, 1914
With mobilization at the start of the First World War on 4th August
rejoined his battalion and they
landed in France at Le Havre on 13th August 1914 as part of 3rd Brigade
of the 1st Division of the British Expeditionary Force. Here the
BEF adopted the right flank of the combined Anglo-French force, and met
the German advance at Mons, before the commencement of the retreat from
Mons. Also serving with the 3rd Brigade at the time was 1st Battalion
The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, including Frederick's friend
Private William Rose. Their two battalions had been based at Bordon
together and William had arrived in France the previous day. In the
ensuing months William was to be made a prisoner of war, remaining in
Germany for the duration, before returning to Ewhurst where, in 1921, he
succumbed to illness that was the result of his time in captivity.
The Allied armies were driven back towards the River Marne, to the east
of Paris, but the German plan to encircle Paris had been thwarted. Then,
on the Marne, the German Armies were stopped and the British and French
counter-attacked towards the rising ground above the River Aisne. Here
the 1st Bn South Wales Borderers attacked on the Chemin des Dames, where
it lost 150 men. Several days later, on 26th September 1914, the
Battalion held a vital position on the Mont Faucon spur when a
numerically stronger German force counter-attacked. Hand to hand
fighting ensued in the numerous quarries of the area, but the Battalion
held the position with the loss of 8 officers and 200 men, including
Private Frederick Aylwin. He was 28 years old. In Surrey, the local
paper had included his name under a Roll of Honour of the Men of Ewhurst
Serving the Colours on the very day that he fell in France.
Sir Douglas Haig, at that period the Corps
Commander, wrote of the battalion:"The conduct of the South Wales
Borderers in driving back the strong attack made on them is particularly
deserving of praise" and subsequently visited the Battalion in order
to thank them personally for saving the situation on the Aisne.
Frederick's body was never recovered, and he is now remembered on the
Memorial to the Missing at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, at Seine-et Marne,
France, the Ewhurst War Memorial, the Ewhurst Memorial Plaque, and in
the Ewhurst Book of Remembrance. In the Ewhurst records, Frederick's
surname has been incorrectly portrayed as Alwyn, probably due to the
lack of family representation in the village. The Surrey Advertiser does
make mention of Frederick on 6th November 1915, however, when a memorial
service was held in St Peter and St Paul's to the eleven men of Ewhurst
who had fallen to that date in the war.
Frederick's younger brother, Laurence Ernest Aylwin also died on active
service three days after the Armistice on 14th November 1918. He was a
Gunner with 131st Battery, 19th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. He
died in hospital in Kalamaria, near Thessaloniki, in Greece, and was
buried in grave 812 in Mikra British Cemetery.
Both Frederick and Laurence are remembered on the Bepton War Memorial,
Frederick being referred to as James.
Mary Alice, Frederick and Laurence's mother, died on 5th March 1944 at
the age of 89 and was laid to rest in her husband's grave as was their
only surviving son Albert, who died on 10th March 1960. They lie 15
meters from the War Memorial on which is inscribed the names of their
two lost sons.