Frederick Wallbridge

Date of birth: 1908
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Leading Fireman
Service: Merchant Service
Vessel: HMT Kenilworth Castle
Died: 4th June 1918 aged 19 or 20 years
Death location: At sea


Life before the War
Frederick married Clara Jane Poynter in 1908 in Southampton.  Clara was born in Southampton in 1886.  They had two daughters:

Kathleen Agnes who born 6th November 1912 in Southampton.

Edith E born 1917.

In the 1911 census Clara was living at 25 Wilton Road, Shirley, with her parents and brother.  Clara states she is married and had two children prior to 1911.  There is no trace of her husband.

The 1916/1917 Southampton Directory shows a Frederick Wallbridge residing at 25 Wilton Street, Southampton.


War Service
“Wallbridge, F., Leading Fireman, Merchant Service.
He volunteered in August 1914 and was posted to H.M.T. Kenilworth Castle, in which he served in many waters throughout the war. He saw much active service, his ship being employed on transport duties in the war zone. He was killed in action on June 4th, 1918 during an engagement with an enemy submarine. He was entitled to the general service and mercantile marine war medals.
25, Wilton Street, Southampton”.

The above, extracted from the Roll of Honour, is contradicted by the following:

Historical information – R.M.S. Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle was homeward bound to England in the company of the Durham Castle. She was being convoyed up the English Channel with an escort of the cruiser Kent and five destroyers when she met with a mishap of an unusual nature. At 12.30 a.m. on the morning of June 4th, the Kent was due to leave the convoy as Plymouth was about 35 miles away. In the darkness of the night all ships, of course, were sailing without lights.  The Kent changed her course according to plan, but some misunderstanding arose, and within a few minutes she was bearing down on the Kenilworth Castle. In order to avoid a collision the helm of the mail steamer was rapidly put over and she swung clear of the Kent only to collide with the destroyer Rival cutting off that vessel’s stern. Unfortunately, on the stern of the Rival were several depth charges which were meant for the discomfort of German submarines. These, however, exploded with terrific force underneath the Kenilworth Castle, causing a gaping hole in the hull. The water rushed in forward and before long the mail steamer was well down by her bows.

On board there was a certain amount of confusion. Everyone believed that the Kenilworth Castle had been torpedoed. As the bulkheads were holding it was not thought necessary to put the passengers in the boats. Through some misunderstanding, however, a few boats were lowered. Two of these were swamped, and, as a result, 15 persons were drowned, including some of the nurses on board. The Kenilworth Castle, meanwhile, limped towards port, and by 8 am she had reached Plymouth where her passengers were put ashore. She herself was sent to the dockyards for repairs, and it was only after a considerable time had elapsed that she was able once again to put to sea.



Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Published: 28th May 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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