Frederick Walter Cleveland was born at 2 Coburg Place, Bayswater in London, on 29 January 1888. He was the youngest child of Samuel George Cleveland, a carpenter, and Eliza (née Lashmar), and his brothers and sisters were named George, Herbert, Eleanor and Constance.
In November 1892 Eliza was admitted to Greenwich Workhouse and on 24 December was transferred to Cane Hill Pauper Asylum. An Eliza Cleveland of the right age died at Bridge in Kent in 1916. In the 1911 census Samuel Cleveland is listed as married to Ada Jane (née Chapman), who in 1891 had been the family’s servant, and recorded as having been married for 22 years with four surviving children. A fifth eldest daughter named Hilda Annie, aged 20, may have been the last child of Samuel and Eliza. Frederick was living with an aunt in Hornsey in 1901 and was at Lichfield Theological College in 1911, but two of his siblings, Eleanor and Herbert, were still living with their father and Ada in Woolwich in 1901, but had both moved on by 1911. George Cleveland joined the Royal Navy and Herbert Cleveland the Army in 1904 and the girls subsequently married. Samuel Cleveland died in the Greenwich Union Infirmary in June 1911.
Frederick was baptised on 15 March 1904 at St Mary Magdalene, Woolwich at the age of 16 and became a student of theology at Lichfield Theological College in 1909. He is reported to have previously studied at Mirfield Theological College a anglo catholic establishment with a commitment to community action. Lichfield Theological College was associated with Durham University, and its students could become unattached students and sit examinations. Frederick Cleveland satisfied the examiners in December 1911 to gain a Licentiate in Theology. He was ordained deacon in 1911 at Stafford and served at Christchurch, Tunstall, Stoke on Trent. From 1913 to 1916, after ordination as a priest, he was Senior Curate at St Andrew’s Porthill, charged with the mission district of St Wulfstan, Longbridge Hayes where he was also Chaplain to the Scout Troop.
Cleveland was appointed Temporary Chaplain to the Forces on 23 May 1916 and joined the 6th Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment in France in November. He was mentioned in despatches at some point, and won a military cross on 29 September 1918 (gazetted 8 March 1919), at a time when he should have been home on leave but which he had offered to a fellow chaplain. The citation reads:
"During the taking of the St. Quentin Canal, on 29th September, 1918, and later, during the advance on Doons Hill, he rendered invaluable assistance. He was with the second wave, and dressed a number of bad cases, and as soon as the first objective was reached, he assisted back to the aid post large numbers of men. He was wounded by shell fire in the back on the 4th October. He showed great gallantry and devotion to duty."
London Gazette, Supplement 31583, p. 12280, 4 October 1919.
In fact his military records state that his wound was caused by gunfire. He died from his wounds at No. 2 British Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, on 11 October 1918, and he is buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension. His last address was 56 Lausanne Road, Hornsey, Middlesex, and his estate was administered by his sister Constance Hannell. His sacrifice is commemorated on memorials formerly at St Wulfstan’s church, Longbridge Hayes (tablets and roll of honour) and now in St Barnabas Church in Bradwell, at St Andrew’s Church, Porthill (tablet and window), at Margate, at Aldershot, and on Durham University’s Roll of Service (1910).
Frederick’s brother Herbert Oscar enlisted in the 1st Battallion of the Royal West Kent Regiment in August 1904 and served as a private until February 1919. He died in 1976. George the eldest served with the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy and died in Halifax Nova Scotia in 1917 when a munitions ship was involved in a collision to cause the largest man made explosion before Hiroshima.