No.2466 Private Frederick Dunn
Also known as Fred Dunn.
Fred was born at Werribee in 1895 to Maurice John Dunn and Jane Emily Weeks. His birth was not recorded at the Public Record Office.
Prior to his enlisting, Frederick was a carpenter, and he served an apprenticeship with Mr L. J. Rose.
On the 21 June 1915, Maurice Dunn signed a consent letter to allow his son Frederick to join the A.I.F.. Fred then enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Seymour on 6 August 1915, when he was 19 years old. He was appointed to the 7th Reinforcements, 14th Battalion.
Just four days later, on the 10 August 1915, he embarked from Melbourne on H.M.A.T. R.M.S. Persia, bound for Egypt.
It took eight days sailing until Frederick joined his Unit at Moascar Camp, Ismalia, Egypt, at the southern end of the Suez Canal.
During the period from 6 February 1916 to 16 February 1916, Frederick was admitted to the No.1 Stationary Hospital, Moascar Camp, suffering with tonsillitis. (Stationary Hospitals were smaller Hospitals, generally based in forward areas.)
On 16 March 1916, Frederick was transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir Training Camp at the southern end of the Suez Canal in Egypt. The Battalion had just been formed in Egypt, and was part of the Australian 4th Division.
“Pioneer Battalions were essentially light military combat engineers organised like the infantry and located at the very forward edge of the battle area. They were used to develop defensive positions, construct command posts and dugouts, prepare barbed wire defences and to facilitate the mobility of friendly forces while taking whatever action they could to deny it to the enemy. Their skills and capability were broad from building, construction and maintenance to road and track preparation and maintenance. They could also, and did quite often, fight as infantry.”
The 4th Pioneers embarked from Alexandrina on the transport Scotian to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on 4 June 1916. Seven days later (11 Jun 1916) they disembarked at Marseilles, and became part of the ANZAC Section 3rd Echelon British Expeditionary Force. - 4th Pioneer Battalion, 4th Australian Division B.E.F.
After five months at the front, Frederick was reported on 7 November 1916, as Killed In Action – "In the field", France.
This was during the British Somme Offensive from 1 July to 18 November 1916.
He was initially buried 40 yards south of the road, Lingueval, 2¾ miles W.N.W. of Combles, France. In 1920 his body was exhumed, and re-interred at Delville Wood Cemetery, Guillemont, France.
Frederick Dunn’s name is recorded on the Werribee Cenotaph as “DUNNE, F”
Fred had an uncle (Private Thomas Dunn, No.955) who served in France. He was invalided back to Australia suffering from rheumatism. When he joined up he had hidden the fact that he already had rheumatism, and he also claimed that he was over 10 years younger. The conditions in the trenches must have caught up with him at 46 years of age.
Frederick Dunn’s sacrifice was reported in the following newspaper items:
“DIED ON SERVICE
DUNN.- Killed in action, in France, on the 7th November, Private Frederick Dunn, youngest son of Maurice John Dunn, of Mortimer street, Werribee, aged 18 years and 7 months.
He rose, responsive to his country's call, And gave for her his best, his life, his all.
( Inserted by his loving father, M. J. Dunn.)
The Argus, 2 December 1916, p.13.
“ON THE FIELD OF HONOR, FOR KING AND EMPIRE
245 TH OFFICIAL LIST, DEATHS NUMBER, 127.
KILLED IN ACTION, VICTORIA.
Pte Dunn. F., Werribee.”
Ballarat Courier, 4 December 1916, p.4.
“WERRIBEE, THURSDAY, DEC. 14.
Quite a gloom was cast over the town last week when word was received that two more of our Werribee boys had made the supreme sacrifice for their country. Both of the late soldiers, Privates H. Swanton and E. Lewis, make the third member of each family that has fallen in the empire's cause. As it is only a fortnight since memorial services were preached for Privates F. Dunn and L. Newland it comes as very sad news to think that so many of our brave lads should become the victims of the Huns.”
Werribee Shire Banner, 14 December 1916, p.2.
“Mr. J. Dunn, of Werribee, received word during the week that his brother, Private T. Dunn, is at present in the Second Southern General Hospital, in London, suffering from severe nerve shock. Private Dunn, who has seen something like twenty months' service with the Australian forces, went through part of the Gallipoli campaign, after which he was transferred to France. It is only recently that Mr. J. Dunn had the misfortune to lose his son Fred, in Flanders.
Werribee Shire Banner, 21 December 1916, p.2.
SHIRE OF WERRIBEE. LIST OF VOLUNTEERS ON ACTIVE SERVICE WITH AUSTRALIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES.
Dunn, F. (K)
Werribee Shire Banner, 1 November 1917, p.1.
Medals & Entitlements:
- 1914-15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
- Memorial Plaque
- Memorial Scroll and King’s Message
- Photo of the grave
Federation Index CD