Frederick Wigan Jones

Frederick Wigan Jones © IWM (HU 116473)

Born 12 February 1892

Died 21 December 1916

Studied at the RCA:  October 1913 – July 1914

Frederick, the only son of a bank cashier, came from Birmingham. He arrived at the College having worked as an art pupil teacher at the local art school . During the year he attended he was considered ‘earnest and diligent’ by his College tutors.

In August 1914, just a few days after Britain declared war on Germany, he wrote to the College to ask whether it would be open in the autumn. The Registrar, Cyril D. Fitzroy, wrote back assuring him that it would. Nonetheless, Frederick enlisted on 1 September. This would not have surpised the Registrar: Frederick’s letter had included a newspaper cutting about the army’s urgent need for junior officers (unmarried) clearly indicating the direction of his thinking.

By late March 1915 Frederick was serving in France as a private with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Later in the year he was once again hoping for a commission, with his father writing to the College about ‘Fred’s’ nomination requiring a character recommendation from the Principal. A local vicar, however, who had known Frederick for the necessary four-year period provided this instead. Frederick became a 2nd lieutenant  in the 8th Battalion (Territorial Forces) of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 16 November 1915.

As the Battle of the Somme entered its last month, just over a year later, Frederick, returned from a spell of home leave, perhaps celebrating his recent promotion to lieutenant. He was only four days into an attachment to the 1/7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshires in trenches near Becourt, when he suffered serious shrapnel wounds to his neck and thigh on 26 November. Evacuated back to Britain for specialist treatment at the Empire Hospital in Vincent Square (Westminster) he died on 21 December.

He was buried with semi-military honours at Yardley Cemetery, Birmingham.

Student file – Royal College of Art Archive
Student file, letter from the College – Royal College of Art Archive
Frederick Wigan Jones © IWM (HU 116473)