Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 15, 1895
Place of BirthLincoln, Lincolnshire
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMrs. Jane Markham (mother), Third Street South, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingMiller
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439107
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion15th Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 27, 1915
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarNo
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 3, 1916
Age at Death20
Buried AtValley Cottages Cemetery; commemorated on Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres

Markham, Frederick

Private Frederick Markham enlisted in February 1915, at age 19, and served with the 15th Battalion in France and Belgium. He was killed at the Battle of Mount Sorrel in June 1916.

Frederick was the youngest son of Philip George Markham and Jane Dowse. Philip and Jane were married in Yorkshire, England in 1875 and they had at least ten children, six daughters (Sarah, Jane, Elizabeth, Lucy, Alice and Frances) and four sons (Philip, William, Thomas and Frederick). Frederick was born in Lincoln, Lincolnshire on 15 November 1895. His father was an ironstone miner and he died in 1903 when Frederick was seven years old. Over a period of about fifteen years most of the Markham family immigrated to Canada and they settled in and around Kenora, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The war started in August 1914 and Frederick enlisted in Kenora in February 1915, when volunteers were being recruited for a third overseas contingent. He was 19 years old and working at a flour mill at the time. The local volunteers were briefly attached to the 44th Battalion but when the 52nd (New Ontario) Battalion was organized in mid-March they were transferred to the new unit. The 52nd was based in Port Arthur and in June 1915 the Kenora recruits were sent to there to join the rest of the battalion. While they were training the 1st Canadian Division was fighting in France and Belgium. Men were needed to replace casualties in front line combat units and battalions in Canada were asked to send reinforcements. Frederick was sent to England with the 2nd Reinforcing Draft in September 1915, one of 250 men from the 52nd Battalion. In England he was assigned to the 12th Reserve Battalion for a few more months of training. In February 1916 he was transferred to the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders of Canada) and sent to France. He joined his new unit in Belgium in March.

That spring the Canadian Divisions were in the Ypres Salient holding the front line between St. Eloi and Hooge. The Battle of Mount Sorrel started on the morning of 2 June with an intense bombardment of the Canadian lines followed by the explosion of underground mines. After the barrage German infantry advanced and captured Mount Sorrel and part of Observatory Ridge. A counter-attack was planned for 3 June and additional units were brought in including the 15th Battalion. The 15th was to push up the south side of Observatory Ridge with Mount Sorrel as their main objective. The assault began very early on 3 June and the men faced intense artillery and machine gun fire as they advanced.

From the War Diary of the 15th Battalion, 3 June 1916: ‘ ‘the Officers and men behaved most courageously immediately getting out, forming line and rushed forward in the face of a perfect HELL of Artillery and Machine Gun fire. It did not seem possible that anything could live through it .  .  .’   When it became apparent their objective could not be reached the men were forced to fall back to their starting position. They were relieved the next day and in the operation of 2 to 4 June the battalion suffered 290 casualties. Frederick was one of the fallen, killed in action on 3 June. He was reported to be buried near Valley Cottages, a tiny hamlet on the road between Zillebeke and Observatory Ridge. The area was heavily shelled later in the war and when the war ended his grave could not be identified.

Frederick is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Belgium. The memorial bears the names of over 54,000 men who were killed in the Ypres Salient and have no known grave. Frederick is also commemorated on the Kenora Cenotaph, the Kenora Legion War Memorial and the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral Memorial plaque.

His mother Jane died in 1942 and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora, along with other members of the family including his sisters Sarah (1876-1942), Lucy (Mrs. Horatio Duncan, 1890-1972), Alice (Mrs. Sam Coppard, 1897-1981), Frances (Mrs. Thomas Francis, 1900-1999) and brothers William (1887-1960) and Thomas (1892-1961).

By Becky Johnson

52nd-1915-03-03 52nd-1915-03-17 52nd-1915-06-19 52nd-1915-09-22 Markham-Frederick-90 Markham-Frederick-91 Markham-Frederick-92

« Back To Soldier Biographies