Early in February 1918, Lieutenant-Colonel F.H.A. Wollaston, commander of 1/5th Suffolk, was home on leave in London living in his families London House at Warrington Crescent in St. John’s Wood.
On the night of the 7/8th March 1918, the Germans launched an air raid on London using large Gotha biplanes. The raid, which was designed to attack Paddington Railway Station, but instead its payload of just over two tons of bombs, landed to the northwest on Maida Vale and St. John’s Wood. The raid destroyed four houses in Warrington Crescent, killing twelve people and wounding 23 others. One of those killed was Lieutenant-Colonel F.H.A. Wollaston whose house was completely destroyed.
The Regimental History noted of when a few days later, news of his loss was received at the Battalion in Egypt: "The unexpected news was received that Lt Col F H A Wollaston, DSO, who was on leave, had been killed in London during an air raid on the night of March 7 - 8th. The whole battalion deplored the loss of a brilliant soldier and a gallant gentleman".
Frederick Hargreaves Arbuthnot Wollaston was the son of Frederick Wollaston of Shenton Hall, Nuneaton. His father was a local Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire. He had been commissioned into the Rifle Brigade, but had since the August 1916, commanded 5th Suffolk. He had already been awarded the D.S.O. and later was Mentioned-in-Dispatches by General Sir Archibald Murray for the part he and the 5th Battalion played in the advance to Jerusalem. Following his death, command of the Battalion until the Armistice, was taken by Lieutenant-Colonel William Campbell who had, exactly two years before, escaped from German captivity and had made it into neutral Holland, from where he returned to England.
Captain Lionel Charles Stopford-Sackville who had been a contemporary of Wollaston in the 4th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, wrote to Wollaston’s mother in early May when he heard the news of his old comrades death: "I Return Mrs Wollaston's letter will you please thank Aunt Grace very much for sending it to me as I knew him well. We were practically alone at Ypres except for 3 boys for the last part of it. It's a very sad end as I believe he had been all through the Palestine show".
He was buried in the churchyard of St. John the Divine church at Shenton, close to his family home. He was 39 years old.
Welcome to our online 'blog' charting the history of the many Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment and the part they played in the Great War.
Starting back in March 2014, we have recorded the events of 100 years ago on the centenary of their happening.
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