Frederick Ambrose Openshaw

Lance Corporal
Honourable Artillery Company
Date of death 
16 June 1915
Age of death 
West Dene
Charteris Road
Woodford Green
Address source 
1911 Census
Cemetery / Memorial 

Born Frederick Ambrose Oppenheim in 1894 at Forest Gate, son of David (a naturalised Hungarian, and Secretary of the East End Mission to Jews) and Elizabeth Mary Oppenheim. 1901: A Scholar (at Haileybury College) with his family at 9 Church Crescent, Hornsey. 1911: A Student with his family at “West Dene” Charteris Road, Woodford Green. A Member of Leytonstone Rugby Club.

Although his background was Hungarian, David decided between 1911 and 1914 that their German sounding surname should be anglicised to Openshaw That is how his entry appears in the 1915 Kelly’s Directory of Woodford, and the name under which Frederick served in the Army.

He enlisted with the Honourable Artillery Company at Finsbury, and was sent to Europe.  

The attack at Hooge, also known as the Battle of Bellewaarde was designed to straighten the line over a distance of 1000 yards between Hooge Château and Railway Wood, and it would be the first action fought by the HAC in the war.

A bombardment from 02.30 on 16th June 1915 ceased at 04.15 when the ground attack began. Once the German first line trenches had been captured, three companies of the H.A.C. advanced, occupying and reconstructing the captured trenches in “Y” Wood, while one company dug a communication trench from those captured trenches back to the British line. The expected German counter attack was resisted, but the counter artillery barrage was intense and caused most of the H.A.C. casualties that day.

Frederick Openshaw was one of those Killed in Action and not recovered from the field of battle. He is remembered on the Wanstead Rugby Club Memorial at their Roding Lane ground.

Research by Adrian Lee, Local Historian

Principal Sources: