Frederick Dolby was born at Hough Post Office around 1880, the son of Benjamin (shoemaker and postmaster, born Hough) and Harriet (nee Toulson). In 1891 the family was still at the post office and Fred's sister Sarah Ann (16) was the 'letter carrier'. Ten years later Fred was a rural postman and his sister Mary a rural postwoman; his mother had died and his father was on parish relief.
Fred married Eliza Bartram at Hough Church on 22 Jan 1903. She was from the same Hertfordshire town as the vicar’s wife and had been a cook at the vicarage.
Fred and Eliza lived at Gelston, though he may already have had a connection as he played cricket for Gelston in a match against Hough in 1902. They had 2 children: William Frederick (Jan 1904) and Doris Ivy (Feb 1906). In 1911 Fred was a labourer, though by 1915 he was a journeyman baker, working for Mr Tyler.
He enlisted with 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment at Grantham in Dec 1915 and was called up 11 months later (age 35). 4th Lincolnshires sailed from Southampton to Le Havre in Feb 1917. Fred trained as a bomber (grenade thrower). In Jul 1917 his daughter Ivy died of diphtheria in Gelston (aged 11). There had been several outbreaks in the area and Hough on the Hill School (which she attended) had been closed for a long time in 1916. The school also closed for 3 weeks in Mar/Apr 1916 due to a measles epidemic in which May Berry (9) died.
Fred couldn’t return to Gelston during his daughter’s illness or funeral. But in August he spent 2 weeks at an Army Rest Camp, then in October he had 10 days leave in England. He was reported missing in action on 21 Mar 1918, during the German attack on the Bullecourt salient. In April he was reported as a prisoner of war at Limburg and at the end of the war he was being held at Kleineblittersdorf. He was repatriated on 26 Nov 1918 and transferred to the reserve 2 months later. He died in 1948.
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