Fred Gardiner

Medals awarded

  • 1914-1915 Star
  • British War Medal 1914-20
  • Victory Medal 1914-19
  • Defence Medal 1939-45

Fred Gardiner was born in New Brancepeth, County Durham in June 1891. By the time of the 1901 census Fred was living in Richmond and ten years later, now 19, he was assisting in the family grocery and inn-keeping business at 29 Market Place Richmond.

In 1905 he had enlisted in the Yorkshire Volunteer Battalion. Having been posted to the 4th Battalion 1668 Drummer Fred Gardiner arrived in France on 17 April 1915.

During his time in France and Belgium he kept a diary. He frequently records being under shell attack in trenches and the use of gas by the enemy.

In June he became ill and in July he was hospitalized and diagnosed with rheumatic fever. His last diary note on 26 July reads “Leaving for Blighty on [His Majesty’s Hospital Ship] Oxfordshire”.

Fred was initially treated at Queen Mary’s military hospital at Whalley near Clitheroe in Lancashire and then was sent to the Highland Moors hospital in Llandrindod Wells. This was a treatment centre for ‘trench fever’ and specialised in water treatments and early physiotherapy. When discharged from hospital he settled in Ferndale Glamorgan and worked as a fitter’s assistant at Davis and Sons Coal Company. In December 1916 he joined the 5th Volunteer Battalion Glamorgan Regiment and later was accepted into the Royal Flying Corps in February 1918 (service number 124823) and completed his service in February 1919.

Fred returned to South Wales to work again in the coal industry.

The 1939 register records him living at Bryn Awel, Rhondda Road in Ferndale. He worked as a colliery storekeeper. His wife Gwladys was a domestic worker and they had a daughter, Joyce.

During the Second World War Fred helped his country again by becoming an air raid warden. He died on 29 April 1965.