Private Frederick Leslie Porter

Regiment:  Sussex Yeomanry
Service No:   TF.1736
Date and place of birth:   3rd qtr 1889 in Easebourne, Sussex
Date and place of death:   6 December 1915 in Gallipoli

Family background

Frederick Leslie Porter was a son of William and Rachel Porter who had married in 1870 in Midhurst, Sussex. William Porter was born in Cocking, Sussex, in 1849 and Rachel Sivier was born in Easebourne in 1851.

In 1901 William (52), a County Court Bailiff and bill poster (previously a butcher) was living at Chapel Mount, Station Road, Midhurst with Rachel (50) and four of their children: Oliver (22), Fleetwood (17), Nessie (15) and Frederick (11). William Porter died in Midhurst in 1905, aged 53.

At Midhurst in 1910 Frederick Porter married Sarah Gibson, born about 1888 in Cawthorpe, Lincolnshire.

By the time of the 1911 census, Frederick (21), a fishmonger’s assistant and Sarah (23) and their 4 month old daughter Gladys Rachel, were living with his brother-in-law’s family at Elm Tree Cottage, Cocking, Sussex. Rachel Porter (60) was widowed and keeping a boarding house at the Chapel Mount address.

Military Service

Frederick Leslie Porter enlisted in Chichester and first entered the war on 7 October 1915 in the Balkans.

The Sussex Yeomanry was already in existence at the outbreak of war in August 1914. It was a territorial cavalry force and as Frederick Porter  enlisted in Chichester it is likely that he joined the ‘C’ Squadron (Chichester). It was one of four squadrons (A – Brighton, B – Lewes, C – Chichester and D – Eastbourne), all under the command of South Eastern Mounted Brigade. We can assume he was in the 1/1st as this was the only unit of the Sussex Yeomanry to see front line action. (The 2/1st  became a second line reserve and training unit based in Brighton and ended the War in Dublin. The 3/1st was a third line training and supply unit and was disbanded in January 1917).

After war was declared the 1/1st moved to Canterbury for training and on 24 September 1915 the Regiment was ‘dismounted’ (immobilised for war) and sailed with the Brigade on SS Olympic from Liverpool bound for the Mediterranean, landing in Gallipoli on 8 October and placed under the command of 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.

Almost immediately after his death, due to the huge losses inflicted due to illness, warfare and horrendous weather on the British and Commonwealth troops they were evacuated from the peninsula and taken to Egypt and North Africa.

Frederick Porter was awarded Victory, British and 1915 Star medals.

Death and commemoration

He was killed in action on 6 December 1915 in Gallipoli and is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Helles, Gallipoli, Sp.Mem.C22. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial and Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church.

Subsequent family history

His mother, Rachel Porter died in 1935, aged 83, in Midhurst. His widow, Sarah , returned to Lincolnshire  where she died in September 1962.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project