Fred Hunt, a local amateur playing for Exeter City’s reserves immediately before the First World War, survived the armed conflict only to die of dysentery and pneumonia in Palestine a week before the armistice in November 1918. Although he did not play for the first team, he is recorded in this section of the archive in common with all thirteen Exeter City players who lost their lives in events related to the conflict of 1914-18.
Fred, Exeter-born and bred in keeping with nearly all of the club’s amateur players who died in the Great War, is first noted as playing for St Leonard’s in Exeter before turning out for Topsham St Margaret’s. Having had a few games for Bath City, he is recorded as appearing for Exeter City’s reserve team in the Plymouth and District league towards the end of 1911/12 and again in each of the following two seasons. Reportedly also having a few games in September 1914, soon after the outbreak of war, he would have often played alongside the generation of City’s amateurs who were to perish in the Great War: Fred Bailey, Edwin Clark, Billy Stoneman, John Webb and George White.
A full-back and described as ‘a very keen and clever soccer footballer’, he was employed at Harry Hems’ Ecclesiastical Art Works in Longbrook Street just a few streets from St James’ Park. Keen to enlist in the war effort, he left for India with the 2/4 Devons in December 1914 along with Exeter City director Norman Kendall, trainer Syd Greenway and professional player Alf Green. Later, as a sergeant attached to the 1/123rd Outram Rifles, he took part in actions against Turkish forces after arriving in Egypt in October 1917. Subsequently serving in Gaza, Frederick Hunt died of dysentery and pneumonia in Palestine on 4 November 1918.
There is a memorial to Fred in Exeter’s Higher Cemetery.
For more information about Fred Hunt’s war service and death see his entry in the Killed in Action section of the Archive
Remembering Fred Hunt written by Aidan Hamilton appeared on the club website on the 100th anniversary of the player’s death in November 2018.