Title: British Lieutenant Colonel, World War I
Birthdate: October 31, 1883
Death Date: December 1, 1919
Plot Location: Naval 5, Grave 3, Officers' Plot
This burial is one of two in this Naval cemetery for military personnel who were not in the American Armed Forces. Frederick was born in Suffolk, England, northeast of London, and was the sixth of eight children.
His first trip to North America was in the early 1900s. He was married in Montreal, Canada and a daughter was born in 1909. The family didn’t stay long, moving back to Middlesex (now part of London) by 1911.
Frederick joined the Suffolk Regiment of the British Army at the outbreak of the Great War in August, 1914. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was decorated for his service when he left in August, 1918.
A year later he is listed as a civil engineer, working on board the British Tanker, SS British Marquis, They were en route to Port Arthur, Texas to load crude oil for the Royal Navy. Frederick was taken off the ship at the Port of Philadelphia for treatment of an illness. The Monday before Thanksgiving he was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital. He never regained consciousness and died a week later of meningitis.
Word was sent to his family but they couldn’t afford transportation of his remains. The British Consul received permission from the Navy to bury him here.
British veterans living in this country had formed the British Great War Veterans of America, and the Philadelphia chapter heard of Col. Elkington’s death. They turned out in force to give him a military funeral and marched through the cemetery. A firing party and a band was provided by the United States Marines.
Someone of British background may occasionally lay a “poppy cross” like the one shown above. These are placed in the center of the base of graves of British soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen buried all over the world in commemoration of “Remembrance Day,” which is the Sunday before Armistice Day, November 11.
The other British soldier buried here is one who died in Philadelphia from the 1918 pandemic. His name is Sgt. Malcom MacFarlane.
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