Private Frederick Arthur Rimes Lincolnshire Regiment

Written by Karen Day
First Published

Introduction

Fred Rimes, in the middle

There has been a Fredrick Arthur or Francis in most branches of the Rimes family for hundreds of years, the first can be found way back 1640.

Our, blue eyed, auburn haired Fred was named for his Paternal Grandfather and grew up in the house now known as 116 Stather Road, Burton Stather. He was the second child and eldest son of my Grandparents Martin and Netta Rimes. The family lived in Winterton, Burton Stather and latterly Scunthorpe but it was from Burton Stather that the fifteen year old left to join the army as a boy soldier in 1932.

The Regimental Band. Boys between 15 and 17 years of age, who pass the necessary intelligence tests, may now enlist for service with the Regimental Band for a period of 6 years with the Colours and 3 years on the Reserve. Pay for boys is from £1.1s.6d per week, plus free food and clothing. Bandsmen may enlist up to the age of 33.

Part of the enlistment contract

This was the time of the Great Depression in England with unemployment at 25%, heavy industry in the North being hit the hardest of all. Fred had gained a keen interest in music from his Mother and enjoyed sport, especially cricket, having had county trials as a youngster. These things must have had a great bearing on the choice he made at that time and being able to play music and cricket for his Battalion must have been a dream for him.

Christmas Card from Fred
A Christmas Card sent by Fred
from Hong Kong.

Fred was initially with the Band of the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. It was certainly a case of Join the Army and see the world for Fred travelling abroad to Hong Kong quite soon after joining. During the years 1930 - 1935 the 1st Bn Lincolnshire Regiment were stationed at San Wai Camp, Fanling, Hong Kong. The 1st Bn moved on after China to India. Fred, however, had returned to England and transferred to the Band of the 2nd Bn joining them when they returned to Dover in Dec 1936 from Malta and Palestine. Under Bandmaster Mr R Williams, they were busy with duties playing in military tattoos and resorts particularly during the summer seasons. Fred was able to play every wind instrument but in the band he played the Euphonium. His own choice and favourite was the French Horn, apparently it was always a niggle and his one complaint that that he was never allowed to play it in the band.

Outbreak of War

With the outbreak of war, declared by Britain on 3rd September 1939, some band members like Fred with stretcher bearing training, volunteered to remain with their battalion and the other members and boys returned to Sabraon Barracks in Lincoln with the bandmaster. Fred became part of a Royal Army Medical Corp (RAMC) Unit attached to his Bn commanded by a Regimental Medical Officer (RMO).

RAMC units were present at all levels, every infantry battalion, for example, having a Medical Officer (MO), a medical orderly, a 15 cwt truck in which to carry their equipment, plus an NCO and some twenty infantrymen, who were trained as stretcher bearers (normally a task undertaken by the Regimental Band if one existed). Their task was to collect casualties and bring them back to the Regimental Aid Post (RAP) where the MO and his orderly would deal with them. All soldiers carried a First Field Dressing for immediate use; all were trained in simple first aid, including the use of morphin.

British Army Handbook 1939-1945. page 120

The 2nd Bn became part of the 9th Infantry Brigade which formed part of the 3rd Division commanded by Major General, later Field Marshal, Montgomery. Together with other Battalions and Infantry Brigades the 3rd Division formed the 3rd Infantry Division which in turn became part of the first British Expeditionary Force (BEF). They were deployed to France almost immediately in September 1939, mostly situated along the French/Belgium border. This became known as the Phoney War and no hostilities commenced until 10th May 1940. By this time the 3rd Division had returned from France and my Grandma Rimes' war years diary records Fred's surprise return home on the 18th January 1940 Fred came home from France. We were cleaning the bathroom! I don't suppose she really minded him catching them out and coming home on a cleaning day really.

Fred, Dorothy and Edith. Burton School 1920's
Fred, Dorothy and Edith.
Burton School 1920's

Apart from the three youngest children Fred's other sisters were involved in the war effort. Jean in the Womens Land Army, Dorothy (Dot) initially working in a Munitions Factory in Birmingham, then the NAAFI at RAF Scampton, Lincoln and Charlotte (Bid) doing her children's nurse training in Birmingham and Welwyn Garden City. Both the youngest boys were in The Army Cadets and Grandma notes in her diary that immediately war was declared John ran away, cycling all the way to Lincoln from Scunthorpe to join the Navy, he was only fourteen. It must have been a tiring adventure for him ending in disappointment and a long, long ride home to face the music. Grandma writes he was told Not old enough. Finally four years later in April 1944 he was old enough and signed on for 12 years.

No so long after his surprise visit home it was back to France with the 2nd BEF which landed on 13th of June 1940 under the command of General Alan Brooke. Brooke quickly realised there was little hope of success and persuaded Churchill to evacuate all troops immediately. Like so very many Fred was reported missing and it was a worrying time for the family until the official news came through some weeks later that he had now returned to his unit. A letter arrived home saying he was alright and not to worry and that he would come home as soon as he could and bring something for the bairn. The bairn was his little sister Catherine, my Mum. She remembers being allowed to wait for him on the corner of the street and being so upset when he strode past not recognising her. About Dunkirk, Fred said that he was caught up behind enemy lines but the French locals helped them out. Unfortunately many of the men of the 2nd Bn Lincolnshire Regiment were taken prisoner in the Poperinge area.

Operation Ariel - the name given to the World War II evacuation of Allied forces from ports in western France, from 15-25 June 1940. An estimated 384,000 British servicemen came home, but the BEF had suffered 11,000 killed (roughly a third of those were on the Lancastria), 14,070 wounded had been evacuated and 41,030 were taken prisoner.

Janice and Joyce. 1943.
Fred's daughter and wife,
Janice and Joyce, 1943.

Afterward the 3rd Infantry Division spent four years in Hampshire training for D-Day (Operation Overlord) making additions, experimenting and changing, finally it reverted back to pure infantry. Fred was able to make regular trips home during this time, although according to Grandma's diary he often arrived in Scunthorpe on the last train and had to leave on the first. Many times meeting his sister Charlotte (Bid) during the train journey and travelling part of the way with her on her way to and from Birmingham. He had also met his future wife by then and he and Joyce were married in Bromley, Kent in early 1941 with their daughter Janice being born in 1942. Joyce was a hairdresser, pretty and petite and Grandma Rimes was heard to wonder however did a great big lummox like our Fred find himself a pretty little thing like Joyce. In her later years Aunty Joyce lived in Ealing, London and when we visited she told us why she had noticed him and it was because he was tall and handsome in uniform and he really was so very lovely.

D-Day

The advance on Caen, Normandy, July 1944
The advance on Caen, Normandy, July 1944.
© IWM (B 6758)

The Third Division was the first British division to land at Sword Beach on D-Day 6th June 1944 and fought through the Battle of Normandy, their objective to seize Caen. The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months but sadly Fred was killed by an shell explosion on 7th July 1944 just North of Caen, whilst driving a military ambulance.

Grandma's diary only has two words entered for that day which reads Fred killed and the next entry for 1944 comes on 20th August where she writes that it was Fred's birthday and she had attended a service for him at St Andrews Church, Burton upon Stather. The same day his youngest brother James (Jim), now old enough too, joined The Army Cadets.

Lincolnshire Regiment cap badge
Lincolnshire Regiment cap badge.
© IWM (INS 5552)

The family later befriended a young German POW and a friend asked Grandma how she could possibly do such a thing, after all, the Germans had killed her son! She argued that if things had been different, roles reversed, then she hoped a German Mother would have shown kindness to her son. That young boy was called Ludwig and he certainly deserved some kindness, already orphaned he had been taken out of the orphanage toward the end of hostilities at only 14 years of age by the then desperate German military. With no training his next experience was of wearing a parachute and being forcibly pushed out of a plane.

Fred was 27 year old when he died a little short of his 28th birthday and rests in Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France. Ranville was the first village to be liberated in France when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured on 6th June 1944. Fred's parents were never able to visit but eventually a handful of soil from Grandma Rimes rose garden was exchanged for a handful of soil from Fred's grave in France. His name continues with his Grandson Richard who bears the middle name Fredrick.

A memorial bench for Fred was sited on Thealby Lane, Thealby.

I am fairly sure that had he lived Fred would have been extremely sad to see that during 1960 in Minden, Germany the now Royal Lincolnshire Regiment exchanged their famous Sphinx cap-badge for the new East Anglian Brigade cap-badge and also learned that they were to amalgamate with the Northamptonshire Regiment. So ended two hundred and seventy five years of service by a fine county regiment, with also the demise of its excellent military band. Quote from the Bands of The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment by Major Ron Berry MBE ARCM

Record Details for Frederick Arthur Rimes

First Names:Frederick Arthur
Initials:F. A. .
Surname:Rimes
DOB:Circa
Age:27
Birthplace:Lincolnshire
Nationality:British
Resided:Lincolnshire
Death Date:
Family Info:Son of Martin and Netta Rimes; husband of Audrey Joyce Rimes, of Anerley, London.
Rank:Private
Service Number:4800414
Service:British Army
Regiment:Lincolnshire Regiment
Battalion:2nd Battalion
Commemorated:France
Grave:Ranville War Cemetery - II. C. 35. Map
Place of Death:Near Caen, France. Western Europe Campaign 1944/45
Bench:Thealby Lane, Thealby by the bus shelter just before Jubilee Cottages. Mapphoto
Awards:

Map

Use the interactive map to view the location of Frederick Arthur Rimes' Grave. Click the Bench link to view the location of his Memorial Bench. You can view all the graves, memorials and benches by downloading our which can be viewed in Google Earth and other mapping software.

Remembered with Honour.

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