PRIVATE FREDERICK CHARLES RIVERS
QUEEN'S OWN ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT
11TH AUGUST 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: VILLE-SUR-ANCRE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
At 1 pm on 9th August 1918, the 6th Battalion the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment received orders that they were to attack at 5.30 pm that evening. The battalion war diary recorded:
"Attack completely successful after hand fighting. 12 machine guns captured 10 others destroyed, 4 Trench Howitzers & 1 granatenwerfer [grenade thrower] & about 40 prisoners taken. Attack penetrated about 2000 yards into enemy positions."
Two days later the war diary counted up the casualties the regiment had incurred between 12 noon on the 9th and 12 noon on the 11th August. They amounted to 165 including two officers and 24 other ranks killed. Fourteen members of the regiment are buried with Rivers in Ville-sur-Ancre Communal Cemetery Extension; Rivers is the only one to have died on the 11th. I don't like to think about it but, there was no Regimental Aid Post or Field Ambulance attached to this cemetery so Rivers would not have received any particular medical attention. However, he obviously knew he was dying and lived long enough to be able utter his last affecting words. I wonder who passed them on.
Frederick Rivers was the seventh of his parents' ten children. Father, Charles William Rivers, had served in the army between 1883 and 1894 - as a butcher in the Commissariat Transport Corps. In 1911 he was a labourer in the naval dockyards in Portsmouth. Two of Frederick's elder brothers served in the Royal Navy and one in the Royal Marine Artillery, all three survived the war.