A Berkshire Lad Revisited

A Wolseley helmet provenanced to Private Frederick G. Rance of the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. This helmet was manufactured by Percy Ayses & Co. (Author’s collection)

A Wolseley helmet provenanced to Private Frederick G. Rance of the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. This helmet was manufactured by Percy Ayses & Co. (Author’s collection)

Last year I wrote a companion article to this one, A Berkshire Lad, but have in the last week been contacted by the family of Pte. Frederick G. Rance. I sensed the import and could not but return the helmet to the family to complement the other memorabilia which they have preserved.

Now many collectors will take me to task over this, and indeed the helmet is one of my best, but what can I say? Nothing noble naturally, but it just seemed the right thing to do.

However, I now present photographs of Fred and a little bio.

The Hat... Fred wearing the hat in question, with the edge of the flash just visible.

Bcoy 1924 (FJR 4 rows down, 2nd in from the right smallFred is 4 rows down and 2nd from the right.

bottom left FJRFred is here sitting at extreme left.

Now for his pay book and Birth Certificate

DocsAnd lastly a photograph in civilian life.

Civilian life_0001To quote the family “Fred was Royal Berks in WW1, after he returned home he enlisted in the home guard where he became an NCO and Lewis gun instructor. In 1940 he re-enlisted into the regular army once again for WW2, this time he joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps where he remained until approx 46. Fred finally passed away in 1985/86 I think. His civilian career away from war was as a gardener and at one point he was employed by the royal household at Windsor Castle.”

They also tell me that there is a good deal of more paperwork and some part-used film in one of his cameras. We await with anticipation.

Stuart Bates

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