Hunt, Frederick

Birthplace

Exeter

Biographical Text

The last ex-City player to lose his life in the war was Frederick Hunt. Having played for the Exeter City reserve team, the Western Times described him to be 'certainly one of the most popular' of the group. Hunt also played turned out for Bath City, earning his trade as a prominent back in the side.

Only a week before the armistice, he died of pneumonia during the First World War on the 4th November 1918 while serving in 'B' Company, 2nd/4th Battalion, Devon Regiment aged 28. Hunt had been serving in Gaza at the time.

Fred was remembered in November 2018 in an article by Aidan Hamilton on the club's website

"Fred volunteered for active service soon after the outbreak of the war. In December 1914, along with other members of the football club, including director Norman Kendall and pro Alf Green, he sailed for India with the 2/4th Devons.

Later, a sergeant attached to the 1/123rd Outram Rifles as a musketry instructor, he took part in actions against Turkish forces, having embarked for Egypt in October 1917.

Fred was Exeter born and bred. He played for his local club St Leonard’s, then St Margaret’s in Topsham, and was ‘selected’ to play for Bath City.

Fred played as a full-back for the reserves in the Plymouth and District league on the 27/4/1912 against the Royal Navy Barracks, and played again in 1912/13 for the 2nd X1 (the reserves).

A full-back, he was a regular member of the Exeter City Reserve XI from September 1912 – right up until the autumn of 1914. He was, we’re told, ‘a very keen and clever Soccer footballer, being of fine physique’.

After a City practice game in August 1913, “Rover” of the Football Express wrote: "The amateurs have every reason to be pleased. Dilley, the Army Service Corps man, scored a goal, and Lewis got two, while Hunt was quite as good at back." He was a popular player.

Fred Hunt, 28, died of pneumonia at a hospital in Gaza. In the Gaza War Cemetery, the inscription on his headstone reads: ‘HE WILL ALWAYS LIVE IN THE HEARTS THAT LOVED HIM.'"

Death of Well-Known Exeter Footballer
Exeter and East Devon football followers will regret hear that Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, 5. Lansdowne Terrace, Exeter, have just received news of the death of their only son, Sergt. Fred Hunt, Instructor of Musketry of the Outram Rifles, from dysentry and pneumonia, at an hospital at Gaza. He volunteered for active service just after the outbreak of war, and left England for India shortly afterwards with the 2/4th Devons. Since then he has seen service in Palestines. Before the war he was employed at Mr. Harry Hems, and was a very keen and clever Soccer footballer, being of fine physique. He played as a back for St. Leonard's and St. Margaret's Topsham, and was then selected to play for Bath City. For several seasons previous to the outbreak of war he was one of the best, and certainly one of the most popular, of the Exeter City Reserve team. Much sympathy will go out to his father and family. His father, just after the outbreak of war joined the St. John Brigade, and has been doing his bit at the different hospitals in the City ever since.
Western Times - Wednesday 13 November 1918.

In November 2020, Martin Weiler, (Exeter City Museum Charity) wrote the following:

“We have tracked down another memorial in Higher Cemetery and it is quite a significant one. It is the first known memorial in the cemetery of one of the 13 Exeter City players who died in WW1: Fred Hunt. Fred died and is buried in Gaza, Palestine but his parents put up a memorial to him in Higher Cemetery. They were later buried next to him.”

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