Fred was born in Brecon in January 1887, and was baptised in St David's Church a month later. His father Henry was a carpenter and joiner and the family lived at 29, Orchard Street, Llanfaes, Brecon. Fred had two older sisters and a younger brother, Harold. His parents had married in 1874 Henry marrying Anne Price (nee Morgan), a widow.
Henry's mother died in 1894 when he was only 7 years old. In 1901 Henry is shown on his own at 26, Silver Street although the two boys are probably living with him as they are listed as visitors with a family in Newmarch Street on the day the census was taken. Fred later worked for the Brecon and Merthyr Railway in Brecon before leaving for Ystradgynlais in about 1908 to board with his married sister and work at the colliery. Harold also made the same move and both young men are living with their sister and her family in 1911 and working above ground at a local colliery.
Fred had been with the Brecknocks before the war and enlisted with them at soon as war bas declared, leaving for Asia with his battalion in October 1914, almost certainly via Aden to India where he spent some time before leaving to join the South Wales Borderers, 4th Battalion in Mesopotamia, probably amongst the 140 or volunteers that went with Lieutenants Stephen and Frank Best to rebuild the 4th
Private Fred Russell
South Wales Borderers, 4th Battalion, service no. 27811
Killed in Action in Mesopotamia April 30th, 1917, aged 30
Commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq
There was an influenza epidemic in Europe at the time and local reports on the same day as his death was listed stated that the influenza epidemic was showing signs of abating but there had been many fresh cases locally and doctors were worn out.
Don't grieve for me, dear mother, We'll meet again
You waited my safe returning, But now I'm waiting for
And when you reach the golden gates, I'll be there to let