Frederick Bizzell


29817 Guardsman Frederick Bizzell served with 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He died 13 April 1918 in the Battle of Hazebrouck when 4th Battalion was with 4 (Guards) Brigade, 31st Division. The battle, (one of the Battles of the Lys in Belgium), including the defence of Nieppe Forest, was fought from 12 to 15 April. Two divisions, 29th and 31st, defended a line east of the Nieppe Forest against overwhelming forces. Vieux-Berquin village was lost on 13 April, but the rest of the line was held until 1st Australian Division had de-trained and arrived in positions.

The Battalion War Diary carries no specific record for 13 April but notes that on 10 April, at Villers-Brulin, it was ordered to embus that evening, to proceed northwards to take part in the battle around Merville and Armentieres. On 14 April the Battalion remnants left Brigade Headquarters at 2.30 a.m., stopping at Grand-le-Sec-Bois and arriving at Borre at 8.15 a.m. It seems that the action had been severe. There is an account of the Battalion's involvement with casualty reports, maps, messages etc attached for the period 12 midnight, 10 to 14 April, and a Casualty list for 12-13 April 1918. Frederick is not named, but besides 17 officers and 30 other ranks dead and 123 wounded, ‘huge numbers' were missing. They were counted later and among them was Frederick. His death is recorded on Panel 1 of the Memorial at Ploegsteert, Hainault, known to the soldiers as ‘Plug Street'.

Baptised Frederick Arthur, he was born in 1887 in Hornton near Banbury, Oxon., the eldest son of Charles Bizzell, police constable born in Caversham, Oxon. and Eliza Towne, born in Bicester. The family were living on Bell Street, Hornton in 1891. By 1901 the father was a licensed victualler and licensee of The Chequers Public House, Crown Road, Wheatley; in September 1914 he was sworn in as one of 36 village Special Constables. Frederick was a brother of Sidney Bizzell, Royal Horse Guards, who also served, and returned. He had attended Wheatley Elementary school. In the 1911 Census he was enumerated aged 23 at 1 The Embankment, Bedford, a club where he was employed as a billiard marker.

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