Born 1875, Puckington, Somerset


Frederick and Eliza [nee STOWER, born Dunster 1870] VILE

Frederick worked on the Portman Estate as a carpenter/wheelwright and lived at Church Farm Thurlbear from about 1892 onwards.

Frank was first listed as a mason and then became a bricklayer.

Frank married Elizabeth Ann Yeandle in 1896.  

They had a child Redvers Frank born in 1901, who married Elsie Millard in 1922 and died in 1949 and possibly others.

Elsie Evelyn Millard b 1900 Taunton, Somerset, England - d 1980 Taunton, Somerset, England

505 Field Company (2/3rd Wessex) Royal Engineers

Frank Vile died 9 June 1917 in France

In 1914, each infantry Division included two Field Companies. A third was added during January 1915, as more units came up to strength and passed training. The Field Company was composed of 217 men, as shown here.

Bricklayers 27, Slaters 2, Plasterers 2, Carpenters and Joiners 55, Clerks 8, Draughtsmen (sic) (Arch) 2, Coopers 2, Electricians (Field) 2, Engine Drivers (Field) 4, Fitters and Turners 17, Harness Makers 4, Masons 17, Painters 9, Plumbers and Gasfitters 16, Shoemakers 2, Surveyors 2, Tailors 5, Blacksmiths 22, Wheelwrights 7, Miscellaneous and Pioneers 23, Drivers 75, Shoeing and Carriage Smiths 2, Corporals (Mounted) 1, 2nd Corporals (Mounted) 2. Total 308. There were other schedules for the Signals Company and by Rank.

A detachment of the Field Company (a proportion of the above) was left at the Base, as reinforcements.

The men were organised into two areas: Mounted (which included the CQMS, the Farrier, the Shoeing Smith, trumpeter, 3 NCOs and the drivers and batmen) and Dismounted. The latter represented many kinds of trades required by the army in the field, including in the numbers shown above 15 Blacksmiths, 20 Bricklayers, 40 Carpenters, 5 Clerks, 12 Masons, 6 Painters, 8 Plumbers, plus surveyors, draughtsmen, wheelwrights, engine drivers and others.

The Field Companies relied on horses for transport and had an establishment of 17 riding horses for the officers and NCOs of the Mounted Branch, plus 50 draught heavy horses, and 4 pack horses. There were also 5 spare draught horses as replacements.

With the exceptions of the Trumpeter and Bugler, all other ranks were armed as infantrymen, carrying the SMLE rifle.

The list of Field Company equipment is far too long to detail here, as you might imagine. As an example, the Company had in its care 111 shovels and 107 pickaxes. It also carried a store of sandbags and guncotton charges

Frederick and Eliza Vile, and some of their family outside Church Farm, Thurlbear

Frederick and Eliza Vile

505th (Wessex) Field Coy RE

2/3rd Wessex Field Coy RE Raised ca. 1914.

 Assigned 8 Dec 1915 to 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. [505th]


The Division received a warning order on 5 January 1917 that it would soon depart for France. The units crossed the Channel 7-22 February and completed concentration at Merris on 23 February 1917. Three days later it took over the right sector of II Anzac Corps, north of Le Tilleloy. The Division then remained in France and Flanders.

505 Field Company had been in Northern France since March 1917 and were in trenches near Armentiers.  Their job was to repair trenches and build new ones, if the army advanced.   The trenches were frequently shelled by the Germans, with the inevitable causalities.


More about Field Companies, Royal Engineers on the Western Front


World War I