Death of a Commanding Officer

By kind permission of John King, Author

The Commanding Officer at Grove Park, Col. Frederick W Wright, who was billeted at the Gables, was very popular amongst the men in spite of their difficulties. Not only did he take an interest in the welfare of the men, but he was also a keen sportsman. At the ASC sports day in Grove Park Road on 22 April he acted as referee in the various races. A week later he won a horse jumping competition in Greenwich Park. It was therefore a great shock to everybody when his death was announced in May at the age of 36.

Wright had left Grove Park for a short holiday in Cumberland on 16th May. Four days later on the Saturday, he was salmon fishing and whilst wading in the river, slipped and drowned. He had served in the Boer War in South Africa and had been in the original Expeditionary Force to France in 1914. The first part of his funeral was held at St Augustine’s, the Bishop of Woolwich reading the lesson. The coffin, covered with a Union Jack was then borne to Plaistow Cemetery behind six black horses. It was followed by the combined bands of the ASC at Grove Park and Park Royal and the trumpeters of the Horse Transport Depot at Woolwich. The mile from the church to the cemetery was lined the whole way by soldiers. A firing party of twenty-four who had led the procession, let off a triple volley over the grave whereupon the Last Post was sounded.

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