Updated 4 Apr 2008

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Photo 297


Taken c1916.
Private David Clough (standing) and his brother
Lance Corporal Frederick Clough M.M. (seated) 1890-1925.

David CLOUGH and Frederick CLOUGH M.M.

A Biography of Frederick Clough M.M

by Simon Johnson
Frederick Clough was born at the town of Wirksworth in Derbyshire in 1890 and was the third of ten children born to William and Mary Elizabeth Clough, though one of these children died as a young baby. Fred's father became a well-known Wirksworth character, known in the district as "Whistling Billy". Fred was raised and educated at Wirksworth, though he endured a difficult upbringing due mainly to the somewhat eccentric and drunken behaviour of his disabled father. On completion of his schooling it is likely that Fred spent a period working in one of the local limestone quarries.

Three years before the relatively early death of his mother in 1909, Fred's older brother, John William Clough, joined the army and was a regular soldier prior to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, and spent time serving on colonial duty in India. This must have had an influence on Fred and his younger brother, David Clough, who both signed up as territorial soldiers with the 1/6th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys Regiment). David signed up at Wirksworth in 1912 and Fred must have signed up shortly afterwards and was assigned the regimental number of 2168. The Territorial Army was immediately mobilised on the outbreak of the Great War, and the original four Sherwood Foresters Territorial Battalions, the 5th, 6th, 7th (Robin Hoods) and 8th, formed what would become known as the 139th (Forester) Infantry Brigade in the 46th (North Midland) Division. In February 1915, Fred was part of the 139th (Forester) Brigade, who had the distinction of being part of the first Territorial Division to land in France and the division served on the Western Front for the duration of the war. By the end of the year Fred had been engaged in heavy fighting and the following year he was involved in the Battle of the Somme where he was wounded on two occasions. The second wounding saw him buried in the debris caused by a shell bursting. On the 28th of May 1917, whilst fighting with the D Company, Fred was very badly gassed at Liévin. He was never to fully recover from the awful effects of being poisoned by gas.

Briefly returning home on furlough to Wirksworth in early 1918, Fred married Mary Elizabeth Flint of West End, Wirksworth, at Belper Register Office on the 12th of March 1918. At the time of her marriage to Fred, Mary already had two young sons, twelve year-old Robert Braithwaite Flint and five year-old George Henry Flint (who was more commonly known as Pat, or Harry) and Fred raised the boys as his own children. By the time of his marriage in March 1918, Fred had been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. Fred's union to his new wife, however, was to be short-lived as he was summoned back to France despite his failing health. This must have been a difficult time for his wife, who mourned the loss of her younger brother, Mark Flint, who was killed in action in France in April 1918.

On the 29th of September 1918, Fred did splendid work as a Lewis-Gunner in clearing out the village of Lehaucourt in France, twice knocking out enemy machine guns who were holding up the advance. His action in moving to the flank and engaging the hostile machine guns on three occasions showed great initiative, courage and resource, and for such great gallantry Fred was awarded the Military Medal in May 1919. Only a few days after this gallant act, Fred was wounded again on the 3rd of October 1918 whilst fighting at Ramicourt.

On returning from the war in 1918/19, Fred's health deteriorated at an alarming rate and he spent time in Leicester Military Hospital. On his return to Wirksworth, Fred and his wife lived on Greenhill and he worked as a general labourer in the area. His only child, Mary Clough, was born at Wirksworth in 1920 and times were difficult for the family as Fred found himself in and out of work due to his failing health. He passed away at his home at 31 Greenhill, Wirksworth, on the 15th of January 1925, aged only 35 years. Fred was buried in his mother's grave in Wirksworth Cemetery on the 19th of January, his coffin having been draped with the Union Jack. Bereaved were his widow, his five year-old daughter and two stepsons.

Clough family

                 1859             Mary
                 William   1885   Elizabeth
                 1933       |     1909
 |    |      |         |         |     |     |      |      |     |
1886 1888   1890      1891      1893  1894  1896   1899   1902  1904
Emma John   Frederick Mary      Henry David Walter Ernest George Harold
1927 Willie 1925      Elizabeth 1893  1969  1973   1934   Henry 1968
     1914    |        1973                                1973
             |               1885
             |               Mary
            Frederick 1918   Elizabeth
            1925       |     1973

Dates:1894-1969 (David Clough) & 1890-1925 (Frederick Clough)
Photo taken:c1916
Source:Simon Johnson
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