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Frederick Arnold Stewart (1893-1916)


Descended from celebrated Wolf of Badenoch, fought with 10th DLI killed in action on the Somme


Lieutenant Frederick Arnold Stewart was the youngest son of John George Stewart of Widnell Henry and Stewart Ltd (1832-1983), carpet manufacturers of Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland, and Florence Jane Wilhemina Grosvenor Stewart, (nee Grosvenor). The family traced its ancestry back to Alexander Stewart, Ear of Buchan (1343-1405), the third surviving son of Robert II of Scotland. Alexander Stewart was also known as the Wolf of Badenoch.

Frederick was described in the UK De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919 as being ‘devoted to sport…a keen golfer, badminton player and motorcycle rider’. Educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University; he gained 1st Class Honours in Agriculture at the Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture. He intended becoming a sheep farmer but when war was declared he enlisted as a Private with his older brother Charles Edward Stewart in the 1st City of Edinburgh Battalion, Royal Scots and two months later, in October 1914, both brothers were commissioned to the 16th (Service) Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI).

On 10 August 1915 they arrived in France with the 10th DLI.

Frederick took part in the fighting on the Ypres Salient and was later transferred with the 10th to the Somme. On 16 September 1916 they attacked the Gird Trenches near Flers; the Battalion was caught in heavy machine gun fire with inadequate bombardment of the German lines and was unable to advance. Six officers were killed and one wounded, 381 other ranks were killed, wounded or missing.

Frederick was at first wounded in the shoulder, but continued to lead his men until he was killed. His commanding officer wrote that:

’Everyone in the battalion was devoted to him [not least his older brother Charles] and he was such a good reliable officer. Though so young I considered him quite competent to command his company.’

Six months later, at the Battle of Arras, where Charles was killed in action, the 10th DLI War Diary records that ‘all Companies were commanded by 2nd Lieutenants of about 20 years of age and they all did their job in the most excellent manner and displayed splendid leadership.’

On 23 September 1916, one week after Frederick’s death, his father received a reply paid telegram from the War Office notifying him his son had been killed in action and requesting full name of officer and relationship of next of kin. One week later, Frederick’s father was unable to find his son’s name on any published casualty lists and wrote a note to the War Office on 30 September 1916 requesting that Frederick’s name be published.

Frederick has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France. His oldest brother, Captain George Stewart, RAMC, who also served in the war, requested Frederick’s medals in 1919.

Birth date: 5-Mar-1893

Death date: 16-Sep-1916

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland (1888)
Dunraven, BroomiKnowe, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian (ecclesiastical parish Cockpen 1891 and 1901 censuses)

Education: Edinburgh Academy, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh
East of Scotland College of Agriculture

Family: Parents: John George Stewart (b1849), Florence Jane Wilhelmina Grosvenor Stewart (1857-1932)
Siblings: Florence Jane Stewart (b1879), Eliza Stewart (b1881), George Stewart (b 10-Sep-1883), John Grosvenor Stewart (b1886), Charles Edward Stewart (1887-1917), Lyall Dudley Stewart (b1890), Constance Margaret Stewart (b1897)

Military service:

Private
1st City of Edinburgh Battalion, Royal Scots (30-Sep-1914)
Lieutenant
16th (Service) Battalion DLI (3-Nov-1914)
10th DLI served in France and Flanders from August 1915

Medal(s): 1915 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Memorial(s): Thiepval Memorial

Gender: Male

Contributed by MJE, Darlington