A Market Rasen family to have two sons serve at the front line in France was the Castle family. Irish saddler and bill poster Sidney Castle and his wife Minnie, from Bedfordshire, lived in Jameson Bridge Street with their children, including three sons.
Eldest son, George, was born in 1882 in Bedfordshire and was a bill poster, like his father. He then became Market Rasen’s Town Crier in 1900, a post he held for about ten years. After his father died, he lived with his widowed mother and his siblings in Jameson Bridge Street until 1911 when he married Annie Bycroft. He died in Louth in 1966.
Second son Frederick William was born in Market Rasen in 1883 and worked for Jevon the Chemists before becoming a career soldier. He started military life in the militia with the Special Reserve forces, before joining the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment in March 1901, when he was eighteen.
Shortly after war broke out, Frederick was mobilised from the Reserves, on 5th August 1914, and sent to France with the Expeditionary Force, serving with the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment. He was wounded in November 1914, and wrote a letter to his mother, telling her how it had happened.
“I got a bullet right though the hat and it was followed by a big shell which killed several. I ran like the devil and just missed getting shot though the head, the shrapnel instead tearing my overcoat. It’s a terrible feeling to be hit. When it was my turn for duty, I had not been watching long before the bullets started to sing over my head from a house. I was in a funny position. I had a good cover from the front, but none from the back. I was just loading my gun to shoot though a house window when I was shot in the ribs. I thought Jack Jackson had hit me. It shook me from chest to feet. I could tell you a lot more, but my pain won’t let me do too much. I trust to be with you again shortly.”
Frederick returned to Market Rasen at the end of December 1914. He was one of the first soldiers to return from the front and found many people waiting at the station to see him. He was given a lift to his mother’s house in Mr Starbuck’s motor car. As the bullet was next to his spine and not removed, he stayed in England working at the Army Stores in Grimsby. He was transferred to the South Staffordshires then the Labour Force. He returned with them to the Expeditionary Force in France in July 1916 where he served until the end of the war as a CSM (Colour or Company Sergeant Major). He died in 1967 in Scunthorpe.
Youngest brother Sydney was born 1889 in Market Rasen. He was a labourer who married Mary Catherine Alice Enderley at St Thomas Church Market Rasen on 21st September 1913. They had two children and lived in Dear St.
Sydney enlisted on the 10th November 1914 in the 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment but later served with the 7th Lincolnshire Regiment, both with Kitchener’s Army, which began as an all-volunteer army.
After just five weeks at the front, Sydney was wounded in both hands and was returned to Lincoln for hospital treatment in August 1915. He was surprised when he arrived, travelling on a train full of wounded soldiers returning from the front, to see his sister at the station, watching the train, unaware that he was on it. They had a happy surprise reunion at Lincoln station.
Once he recovered from his wounds, Sydney was sent back to the front and was wounded again in heavy fighting near Fricourt. He died of his wounds on the 3rd July 1916 and is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l’Abbe, France. Anniversary notices appeared in the press for several years, two of which included the following lines from Tennyson.
"Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand, And the sound of a voice that is still."
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References for The Town Crier, The Soldier & The Fallen
- Market Rasen Census (Ancestry) 1891,1901,1911
- Kellys Directory 1896,1900,1909,1913
- Army Records for Frederick Castle (Ancestry)
- Market Rasen Mail Aug. 1914, “8th August 1915, 29th July 1916
- Let Us Sleep Now... The Market Rasen Men Who Died in the Great War & Their Memorials by Douglas G Boyle