Lieutenant Frederick Arthur Makin

Frederick Arthur Makin was born in Ashton-under-Lyne on September 25, 1874. He was educated at the Albion School & “Whitelaw’s Stamford Academy” in Ashton and joined his father’s mineral (soda) water manufacturing business as an engineer and chemist when he grew up.

On February 6, 1897 he married Hannah Ogden, a publican’s daughter, in Audenshaw and in May that year their first daughter Dorothy May Makin was born.

On January 5, 1900 he enlisted as a private (#2711) in the Imperial Yeomanry and fought with the 1st Battalion of the 23rd Company in the 2nd Boer War in South Africa. The Imperial Yeomanry were a mounted volunteer force and Officers and men were required to bring their own horses, clothing and saddlery with the Government providing arms, ammunition, camp equipment and transport. He served in South Africa from February 11, 1900 to January 28, 1901 and was discharged by his own request after, completing his service, on March 18, 1901. For his services he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with Clasps “Cape Colony”, “Orange Free State” and “S. A. 1901”.

His first son, James Makin, (named after his father), was born on November 31, 1901 approximately 9 months after Frederick’s return to the UK. Mary Makin was born in 1906 followed by Eric Makin in 1909 and Marjorie Makin in 1910.

Frederick was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the 9th Manchester Regiment effective May 24, 1913 after serving as a cadet for 3 years in the Officers Training Corp of Manchester University. He was promoted to full Lieutenant on January 24 of the following year.  He sailed with the battalion to Egypt and served with them through their training and preparations for action. He landed with the Battalion in Gallipoli on May 9, 1915. Regimental records show that he left the Battalion on June 3rd and was evacuated sick to the Deaconess Hospital in Alexandria, where he was admitted with Typhoid Fever on June 7, 1915 and subsequently invalided to the UK and struck off the strength of the Battalion when he embarked on the hospital ship Asturias, at Alexandria on August 15, 1915. He arrived at Southampton on August 26th and was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth.

He is not mentioned in any of the Battalion or Brigade war diaries but the following article appeared in the Ashton Reporter on September 4, 1915:

Lieut. FREDERICK A. MAKIN, of the 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Ashton Territorials, returned to his home, The Nest, Taunton Road, Ashton, on Monday, having arrived at the Wandsworth Hospital, London, on Thursday week. He is still very weak as a result of an extremely severe attack of typhoid fever contracted while fighting in the Dardanelles. He is still confined to his bed, but is making steady progress towards recovery. He gave a Reporter representative an interesting account of his experiences on active service.

“We Territorials occupied trenches on the middle of the front. The village of Krithia was on our left, and Achi Baba right in front. There are few places where the shells do not reach, and even when we were bathing in sheltered positions near the beach the shells would come flying over and splashing into the water. Achi Baba is a very strong defence position, and the Turks and their German officers have made it almost as impregnable as Gibraltar itself. Under such circumstances frontal attacks are death traps, and that is where our losses have been caused. The Turks have some splendid marksmen, and hundreds of their snipers have been caught and shot. We had some very narrow escapes from these sharpshooters.

In Gallipoli it is very hot at times, and then it rains heavily, so that you are up to the knees in water in the trenches. After a few days rest you often find your dugout when you return to it full of water, and you have to sleep on the edge of it.

The Ashton Territorials have been in the thick of the fighting during the whole time they have been there. There was no choosing of soft jobs for the Territorial Regiment. The quartermaster is in as much danger as the man in the firing line, because he is well within the line of shells, which come flying through the camp all the time. They skim along the ground from the way they fire them, and these are especially dangerous. The Turkish losses have been terrific. They are fatalists, and they think that if they are to be killed they will be killed, and so they rush on full tilt.

I was on the Peninsula only about a month, when the doctor ordered me to go to Lemnos for a few days rest. I had boarded the ship, and I was watching some of our cruisers giving the Turks a rousing up by shelling them on Achi Baba, when I fell unconscious, and remained so for a week. I never remembered anything more till I woke up a week later in the Deaconess Hospital, Alexandria. Somehow it seems to be my luck to get into hospitals. During the South African War I had malarial fever, and had to go in hospital there. Now I shall have to have another bar to represent another hospital. I would like everybody to know how well the sisters and the doctors and the orderlies look after the sick and wounded. The way the members of the R.A.M.C. work is wonderful.

I was sorry when I knew I had to leave my comrades, and that I was forced to leave them, because you could not imagine a better set of pals than were the officers of the 1/9th, every one of them. We kept getting split up and decimated, but for good comradeship I never found their equal. The Ashton Territorials have done well, and they think a great deal of their commander, Colonel Wade, and everybody was right down sorry when he got knocked out. It was just as if the head of the family had gone.”

He was well enough to be initiated into the Freemason Lodge of Fidelity in Ashton-under-Lyne on November 18, 1915.  Lieutenants Robert Gartside Wood and George William Handforth joining the same lodge in 1917 and 1919 respectively.

Lieut. Makin was medically assessed and assigned to permanent home service, light duty (office work) and joined the 3/9th Battalion at Codford, Salisbury Plain in March 1916. Here he traveled to Tidworth to be medically assessed and was pronounced permanently unfit for military service. He relinquished his commission on account of ill-health contracted on active service, and was granted the Hon. rank of Lt. on April 2, 1916 and awarded retired pay of £75 per year. He was later awarded the Silver War Badge in December 1916.

To his credit he did not accept the Army’s medical assessment and twice wrote to the War Office requesting to contribute to the war effort. In November 1917 he requested a commission in the Army Service Corps. Motor Transport division noting that he had been driving petrol cars and wagons for 12 years, ran his own car, and knew everything there was to know about engines. He was rejected. Unperturbed, he again wrote to the War Office in September 1918 requesting command of a Volunteer Unit based upon his prior service. He was again rejected.

Lieutenant Frederick Arthur Makin died on May 21, 1924 in Ashton-under-Lyne. He was 49 years old.