Frederick Charles Gardner
Frederick Charles Gardner was born in Gloucester on 7 February 1894 to John William Gardner, a beerseller, and Ellen née Draper. His parents ran a public house in King's Walk and in his early years an outbreak of smallpox resulted in Fred being sent to stay with his grandparents in Frampton. By 1901 he was living with his parents and older sister, Florence, in Cardiff House, The Street, where his father was running a grocer's shop and carrying business. In March 1906 Fred was awarded third prize (a pencil, pen and case), for the highest number of marks obtained in a term's worth of weekly examinations at the school. (The recipient of the first prize was William Sims.)
Fred left school in February 1907 and by 1911 was an apprentice tailor. On 28 August 1915 he enlisted into the Royal Flying Corps (where tailoring skills would have been very useful in repairing aircraft skinned mostly with fabric), and trained as a mechanic. Posted to No. 22 Squadron in France, he would have worked on the maintenance and repair of FE2b reconnaissance aircraft, which were slow and vulnerable to rear attack. During 1917, 22 Squadron's FE2bs were replaced by the much faster and more manoeuvrable Bristol F2b aircraft - German fighters had to treat them with much greater respect. Fred became one of the founder members of the Royal Air Force on its formation on 1 April 1918, and earned promotion to sergeant before being transferred to the RAF Reserve on 15 February 1919. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and his service is commemorated on the plaque in the village hall. Fred related to his family some of his experiences from the war, including the reluctance of his men to remove a dead pilot from a crashed aircraft to effect its recovery.
After the war Fred returned to tailoring, and on 10 October 1922 he married May Nash at St Mary's. However, business dropped off with an increase in ready-made clothing, so they moved to a cottage in Fitcherbury, bought some milking cows and started a milk round. Fred is fondly remembered as cycling to houses in the village to buy spare milk, taking it away in a bucket on his handlebars; apparently there was always laughter when Fred was around.
He subsequently rented the county council-owned Mangrove farm, Saul, the tenancy of which was later taken over by his son, Richard. Fred and May also had a daughter, Sheila. Frederick Charles Gardner was buried in St Mary's churchyard on 9 February 1965.