Stop number YELLOW 9: Facing the Coltman cross, and the side hedge, look slightly to your right. This is the Lance family plot. Look at the base for the memorial to Frederick Lance.
Coltman family plot
Read the story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for J Lawrence.
Memorial to Frederick Lance
Hughenden Road (SWOP BFP03163)
Frederick Clarence Lance 1897-1916
My name is Frederick Clarence Lance and I was born on the 28th of November 1897 in Shoreditch London. When I was around 4 my family briefly lived in Chepping Wycombe (as it was called at the time) but we did not stay that long here. In 1911 my father died, I was about 14, and we moved back again to Chepping Wycombe. This time we stayed for good and I attended the Wycombe Technical Institute which is now called John Hampden Grammar School.
As I grew up I had a job working for chair makers like my father. The industry was still booming in these early years of the 1900s. At school I learned more about manufacturing chairs and, had I survived the war, I probably would have continued with my career. I was privileged to have been given an education and so possibly could have been very successful but in 1914 the war began.
I volunteered and joined the 2nd Bucks Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in Aylesbury. In May 1916 we were sent to France to fight in the Battle of Fromelles, our objective was to stop the Germans moving troops away from this sector to the battle of the Somme which was being fought 50 miles south of Fromelles.
Our plan was to bombard the German trenches and attack when they were injured. However, unknown to us the Germans had moved 200m further back and so, when the allies and I were climbing out of the trenches, they bombarded us in return. 5,533 Australians (around 90% who were involved) and 1,547 British men (around 50% who were involved) were killed either in their own trenches or injured in No Manís Land where they were left to die.
The Battle of Fromelles lasted just 2 days but was one of the worst disasters to befall the Australian army during World War I. This was probably because of poor organisation as the attention was mostly on the battle of the Somme.
Although my body was never found and identified, it is most likely I was one of the 19 men from South Buckinghamshire found in a German mass grave near Fromelles in 2008. I died running across No Manís Land and was quickly buried to prevent the spread of disease.
I was not pronounced missing until May 1917 but I actually died on July 19 1916 aged just 18. During the time when I was announced missing my mother received two letters from Major J. Christie-Miller sending his hope that I should turn up in hospital, but that day never came.
My younger sister also died 4 months after me and so my family suffered two losses in one year. However my older brother Charles, who did not go off to war, survived and carried on my family name and in 1946 became mayor of Chepping Wycombe when it became High Wycombe. Recently the mass grave where I was probably buried was discovered and my great nephew donated DNA to try and identify my body. Sadly he died before any results could be obtained and my body has still not officially been found.
Frederick Lance researched and performed by Jade, Wycombe Abbey To see the performance on YouTube click here.