Frederick Thomas Tookey and his brother Arthur Thomas both died in the First World War. Fred was born at Uppingham on 12 December 1889, the son of John and Sarah Tookey. He was working as a gardener in Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire before the war, living with his wife Ellen at Earls Barton. Frederick joined the 6th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in February 1915. He was sent abroad in July 1915, and took part in the fighting on the La Bassee-Ypres salient, and was wounded during the capture of Guillemont in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. He was wounded again during the Battle of the Menin Road, part of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) and was killed while trying to reach an advanced dressing station. His death is presumed as having taken place on 20 September 1917, as his battalion attacked Eagle Trench near Langemarck. On the night of 19/20 September, the battalion war diary recorded: "The day was quiet with a little hostile shelling. In the evening, as soon as it was dark and the Companies had got rations they moved forward into assembly positions...Zero was at 5.40 a.m. It was then still dark, dawn just breaking. At 5.41 a.m oil drums were discharged [to provide smoke cover]. These lit up the sky and showed our men up to the enemy. As soon as the leading lines came over the ridge in view of Eagle Trench they came under heavy machine gun fire from five concrete houses in the trench. B Coy on the right caught the worst of this and soon lost all their Officers and most NCOs. C Coy in the centre...tried to get on and were within 50 yards of the trench when finally held up." By 6.30 a.m. the men were desperately digging themselves in using shell holes west of Eagle Trench. The diary goes on to say how difficult it was to send runners back to battalion HQ to tell them the attack had floundered. The situation remained static for most of the day with enemy snipers picking targetting anyone who broke cover. A new attack was ordered for the evening and after desperate fighting Eagle Trench was eventually captured and held. Fred has no known grave and so is remembered on Panel 96 of the Tyne Cot Memorial, and also with his brother on Uppingham's war memorial. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has his age as 29.
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