Frederick was born 10 January 1889 Hetton Le Hole District (Easington Lane).

He married Mary (Polly) Cook 1913 in Hartlepool.
Their son Arthur Shorthouse was born 4 April 1914, Baptised 12 March 1914, son of Fred and Mary Shorthouse of 5 Lawson Street, Trimdon Colliery, miner. (Wingate Primitive Methodist Circuit Records)

Fred enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry during WWI and was killed in action in the Somme in 1916. In 1915 after joining the army, he wrote a letter to his parents:

Workmen’s Institute
Netherton Coll.

My Dear Mother and Father

I write these few lines hoping to find you all well as it leaves me extra. Well mother I spent the best weekend that I have ever had since I joined the Army. I was out to tea and Supper on Saturday and I was at a concert at the Chapel and I was out to Dinner, Tea and Supper on Sunday and I was at chaple 3 times and I was there last night again at a lecture so you see mother I am not wasting my time and I have a missionary meeting to go too tonight and the Wesely Guild tomorrow night and the Christian endever  on Thursday so you see I am having a good time here and I am booked for Dinner Tea and Supper next Sunday so you see I have some good friends here as well mother all this Battellion will is going foreign  in a week or two but we are going to get four days leave before we go, but it is not to fight we are for garrison duty abroad it is to guard German Prisoners or to go to some other Places but we have not to fight so you see every thing works together for good. The only thing that will trouble me will be leaving the old homestead and the faces I love because you have been a good mother to me and I will never  forget you but we will just have to hope for better days to come. I am pleased that Polly and you are friends because you don't know how much I was cut up that weekend I was home I shed many a trear that nobody new about also the other night in Chaple they sang when theirs love at home leave you to guess what I was like but never mind mother you can always say that you have one son that you can tell your troubles too and who always sympthises with you well mother cheer up and don't get downhearted I will not belong before I see you again I think I will now close

from your loving son Fred  X X X X


Fred together with four of his companions was killed in action on the 8th. November, 1916 while attacking the Gird Line and Butte de Warlencourt, in the Somme. The following itinerary of the 5th. Battalion illustrates the activities at the “Front” that Fred participated in before his death.

5th Battalion DLI


11 August: Arrived at Doullens 7 pm and marched to Autheux arriving at 1 am.
15 August: Three days of marching to Villers Bocage. Then to Molliens-au-Bois and Millencourt arriving 17 August.
9 September: To Albert and Becourt Wood.
14 September: Moved through Contalmaison and past Mametz Wood to OG1 and OG2 14 trenches just south of Bazentin-le-Grand.
15 September: Battle of Flers-Courcelette began. Attack on Martinpuich.
16-7 September: In attacks on Starfish and Prue Trenches.
19 September: Relieved.
20 September: Reorganising near Bazentin-le-Grand for next three days.
23-24 September: back to Prue and Starfish Trenches.
25-26 September: A few hours rest in Clark’s and Hook Trenches.
26-27 September: Attack on Flers Line.
28 September: Relieved by the 8th Battalion and spent night near Bazentin-le-Grand.
29 September: To Mametz Wood.
1 October: To Bazentin-le-Grand in reserve in OG1 and OG2 trenches.
2 October: To Mametz Wood.
4 October: Marched to Albert.
5 October: To Millencourt, Henencourt and Baizieux Wood. Remained there for three weeks.
23 October: Back to Millencourt and Bazentin-le-Grand.
24 October: In reserve at Bazentin-le-Grand.
28 October: To forward trenches in Le Sars sector.
1/2 November: In reserve in the Flers Line and Prue Trench.
3 November: To Mametz Wood.
6 November: To forward trenches at Butte de Warlencourt and Gird Line.
9 November: In support trenches in Flers Line and Flers Switch.
11 November: To Bazentin-le-Grand.
16 November: 50th Division relieved and 5th Battalion went to Becourt, where it remained until 30 November.


The following information is from “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission” which includes details of his death and of the battle for the Somme in which he died.

Casualty Details

Initials: F
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Durham Light Infantry
Unit Text: 1st/5th Bn.
Age: 27
Date of Death: 08/11/1916
Service No: 2960

Additional information: Husband of Mary Shorthouse of Trimdon, Colliery; also son of Frederick and Annie Shorthouse,
7 Pringle Street, Trimdon Colliery, Co. Durham.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 14 A and 15 C.


The Thiepval Memorial will be found on the D73, next to the village of Thiepval, off the main Bapaume to Albert road (D929). Each year a major ceremony is held at the memorial on 1 July.

On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918. The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932 (originally it had been scheduled for 16 May, but due to the sudden death of French President Doumer, as a mark of respect, the ceremony was postponed until August). The dead of other Commonwealth countries, who died on the Somme and have no known graves, are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere.

Fred’s brother Joe also died in France in May of 1916 and after Fred’s death a joint memorial card was printed by their parents with a photograph of each of their sons.The caption was:

“ In loving memory of Corporal Joseph Shorthouse, Died in France, May 29, 1916. Aged 21 years.
Private Fred Shorthouse, Killed in France November 8, 1916, Aged 27 years.
7 Pringle Street, Trimdon Colliery.”


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