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Ralph Frater (1891-1977)

Served with 9th Battalion Border Regiment

Private Ralph Frater was a coal miner living with his parents before joining the army in Durham in the first week of September 1914.

He was sent to Carlisle to join the Border regiment and was posted to the 9th Battalion where he became a Signaller in Battalion Headquarters. Throughout the war he played for the battalion Football Team.

He landed in France on 7 September 1915 and from there moved with the battalion to the Salonika Front in November.

He was discharged to Class Z Reserve on 6 March 1919.

He was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Ralph Frater was also awarded the 1914/15 Star but when it arrived in Sacriston it had 14079 Pte B Frater inscribed on the back of the medal. Ralph was very annoyed, “After four bloody years they couldn’t even get my name right.” The medals and the Sacriston welcome home medal were thrown over the allotments. Ralph’s sister Polly ran after them and picked the medals up but didn’t tell Ralph. When informed of Ralph’s death in 1977, Polly made efforts to return the medals to his grandson John Sheen, but it wasn’t until 2007 when John’s daughter visited Nanaimo that the medals eventually returned to County Durham.

Civil Parish: Witton Gilbert

Birth date: 1891-Jun-12

Death date: 1977

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 155 Staffordshire Street, Sacriston

Employment: Coal miner: pony putter underground (1911 census)

Family: Father: Ralph
Mother: Mary Jane
Siblings: Sarah Jane, James, Martha, Mary Ann and Moses

Military service:

9th Battalion Border Regiment

Medal(s): Victory Medal and British War Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by John Sheen | Durham at War Volunteer

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