|Posted on July 9, 2016 at 4:05 AM|
Today marks the centenary of the death of Freddie Bulcock, the third former Chesterfield player to lose his life in the Great War. A clogger by trade, Fred lived at 55 Sheffield Road. A noted local athlete he joined The Spireites from his local Stonegravels Red Rose side in 1911 and stayed for one season, playing reserve football, before moving on to Hardwick Colliery and Staveley Town.
Fred was drafted into the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers upon enlistment in January 1915. It might seem a peculiar posting for someone who had lived his life in Chesterfield, but that regiment had been badly mauled at the First Battle of Ypres in 1914, and it was sometimes the case that a volunteer would be enlisted in whatever regiments most needed recruits at the time.
Fred lost his life in the Battle of the Somme, which was not restricted to just that horrific opening day, but which rumbled on for five months and claimed the lives of two more former Chesterfield players. In action near Guillemont, the 2nd RSF were ordered to clear a German trench at Malt Horn Farm and push on towards Trones Wood. Little opposition was reported as the regiment took the farm house and forced its way along the trench system; having driven the enemy out, however, they came under a sustained artillery barrage that lasted through the day. At some point in this action, Fred was killed, one of 95 officers and men who lost their lives in the regiment's operations over the 9th and 10th of July, 1916. Fred is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the 72,246 men who died in battles in that area over the course of the war, and who have no known grave.