Frederick Edgar Henry Tolhurst (1895-1957)
World War One Veterans Item Type Metadata
Next of Kin
Address at time of Enlistment
Place of Burial
Saint Helena, Banyule City, Victoria, Australia
No.2445 Private Frederick Edgar Henry Tolhurst
Frederick Edgar Henry Tolhurst was born in 1895 at Leicester * England, to Henry Adolphus Tolhurst and Alice Betts. **
His father, the Rev Adolphus Tolhurst, had been born in Victoria, and in 1904 he took his family back there. ***
They travelled on the S.S. Medic, and comprised of:
- Rev. Adolphus Tolhurst, Minister - aged 41
- Alice Tolhurst, Wife - aged 34
- Frederick Tolhurst, child - aged 8
- Noel A Tolhurst, child - aged 7
- Alice Tolhurst, child - aged 3
They lived in a variety of places including Bathurst, New South Wales; Goulburn, New South Wales, and Nagambie, Victoria, as his father was appointed to various Presbyterian parishes.
After leaving school, where he had served with the cadets, Frederick spent fifteen months working on dairy farms before starting work as a bank clerk, at the National Bank in Bright and then East Melbourne.
(According to his application for a Soldier Settlement block after the Great War, Frederick Tolhurst had:
- After leaving school, worked on dairy and mixed farms for 15 months, where he gained considerable farm experience.
- Then worked as a Clerk with the National Bank at Bright in N.E. Victoria, before moving to George Street in East Melbourne.)
Frederick Edgar Henry Tolhurst enlisted in the A.I.F. at the Broadmeadows Military Camp on 12 March 1915. After completing his initial training on 28 May 1915, he was appointed to the 7th Reinforcements for the 7th Battalion.
At the age of 19 years, Private Frederick Tolhurst embarked from Melbourne on 16 July 1915 per HMAT Demosthenes, as a member of the 7th Reinforcements for the 7th Infantry Battalion. His next of kin was recorded as his father, The Rev. A. H. Tolhurst of The Manse, Nagambie, Victoria.
After a period of training in Egypt, he was sent to Gallipoli. (He and his wife claimed his service there, but there is a gap in his actual service record).
Whilst in the Dardanelles he was transferred to the Signaller’s School of Instruction on the Island of Lemnos, and he arrived there on 17 October 1915. After completing his training, he was transferred to the 1st Division’s Signal Company of Engineers on 9 November 1915. He was then a member of the 1st Signal Company.
Frederick Tolhurst was admitted to the 21st General Hospital at Alexandria on 11 January 1916, suffering with mild jaundice.
After further training in the desert, Private Tolhurst embarked from Alexandria in Egypt per Euripides, on 11 May 1916, and sailed to England, and then on to France.
At some point after arriving in France, he was transferred to the Army Pay Corps. He would serve with this unit, in both England and France, until the end of the war.
On 10 June 1916, he was attached to the 1st Australian Divisional Headquarters, from the Army Pay Corps.
His father also served in the war as a Presbyterian Chaplain to the A.I.F. and spent time on Gallipoli, in Egypt and on the Western Front.
On 25 July 1916, Private Tolhurst left France, and was taken on strength with the A.A.S.C. in London. He was then appointed as a 2nd Corporal, on 1 September 1916.
On 22 February 1917, he was detached for duty with the A.I.F. Administrative Headquarters in London. Several months later, on 7 April 1917, he was promoted to Sergeant. It was during his time in England he met and married Rose.
Frederick Tolhurst married Rose (Rosa) Lane at Wandsworth England in October 1917, **** and subsequently had two sons:
- Walter Frederick Tolhurst
- Kenneth Adolphus Tolhurst
On 30 March 1918, Sergeant Tolhurst was detached for duty with the “Cen. Regiment”, and marched out to No. 1 Commonwealth Depot at Sutton Veny. His duty at “Cen. Regiment” ceased on 30 March 1918, and he reverted in rank, back to Private, with the 1st Division Signal Company.
On 5 July 1918, Private Tolhurst was appointed Acting Corporal, and taken on strength again with the Administration Headquarters.
Acting Corporal Tolhurst was serving in London on 11 November 1918, when the Armistice was declared.
In March 1919, he applied to remain on duty at Headquarters, so that he could receive musical training.
Temp/Sergeant F.E.H. Tolhurst embarked in England on 20 June 1919, per Konig Frederich August and disembarked at Melbourne on 6 August 1919. He was discharged from the A.I.F. as medically unfit (Disability - Defective Physique), on 5 October 1919.
After being discharged from the A.I.F. on 5 October 1919, Frederick moved to Sydney, where he worked as a bookkeeper with Murdock's Ltd, before returning to Victoria.
On 29 July 1921, Frederick Tolhurst applied under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act for about 500 acres of Crown Land. His address at the time was “The Manse, Dimboola”, Victoria, and he stated a preference to remain in that area.
In his application, Frederick stated that “he was 25 years of age, and had enlisted at Broadmeadows. He then embarked from Australia on the 16th July 1915 with the 7th Reinforcements for the 7th Battalion. On arrival at Gallipoli, he was transferred to the 1st Australian Division Signal Company, and allocated the Service Number of 2445.
After the evacuation from the Dardanelles, he went on to serve in France.
Frederick had been medically discharged from the A.I.F. on the 5th October 1919, suffering with slight V.D.H. (Valvular disease of the heart).”
In July 1921, he was receiving the following weekly pension payments:
- 14 shillings for himself
- 6 shillings for his wife
- 3 shillings and 6 pence for his eldest son, and
- 2 shillings and 6 pence for his youngest son.
In March 1922, Frederick Tolhurst was granted a lease under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act of 127 acres in the Werribee Estate. This comprised of allotments 27 and 27A, in section G, in the Parish of Deutgam. (It is also recorded as allotments 26B and 27).
Moving to the Werribee district, his block was prone to flooding and he found it hard to make a living out of the property. He did however become involved with the Werribee R.S.S.I.L.A. and with church activities at St Thomas' Presbyterian Church.
In January 1922 he conducted the musical activities associated with the anniversary of the St Thomas' Presbyterian Church.
Werribee Shire Banner, 26 January 1922, p.2.
In April 1925 he was involved in an Appeal for Protestant Church Union in Australia. He signed a petition published in major newspapers, as "F.E.H. Tolhurst, Church of England, Duncan's Road,
The Age, 3 April 1925, p.12.
At an Anzac service on 23 April 1922, several local returned servicemen took part. Mr McCrindle played the organ and Mr Tolhurst read the lesson.
Werribee Shire Banner, 20 April 1922, p.2.
At a social function hosted by the Duncan’s Road Tennis Club in 1924, Frederick “brought down the house” by a reciting an item from C. J. Dennis' Sentimental Bloke.
Werribee Shire Banner, 28 August 1924, p.5.
The 1924 Australian Electoral Roll lists Frederick Edgar Henry Tolhurst as a farmer, living on Digger's Road, Werribee. (No wife recorded)
In March 1925, a Royal Commission hearing was held at Werribee to investigate the conditions in Victorian Soldier Settlements. Frederick Tolhurst presented his situation at a hearing held on 20 March 1925. He asked that his 127 acres of land be revalued. When he took over the block, he understood that the property would be drained, but that was never done. Part of his land was saltwater swamp, and other parts received overflow from adjoining properties, rendering them almost useless. He then asked for a devaluation of 3 pounds per acre on the affected land.
The Age, 21 March 1925, p.15.
Frederick was an active member of the Werribee R.S.S.I.L.A., and in May 1925, he was their assistant secretary.
Werribee Shire Banner, 14 May 1925, p.5.
He was the secretary of the committee for the official opening of the Diggers' Road Hall in Werribee South. That comprised of an opening ceremony, followed by a dance.
Werribee Shire Banner, 7 May 1925, p.6.
In the end he decided to leave farming behind and become a Church of England minister, spending time in Waverly, New South Wales undertaking his training.
His first parish would be at Panmure in south-west Victoria in 1925.
Frederick Tolhurst said farewell to the Werribee district at the annual meeting of the Returned Diggers League, held in the new hall in the Soldier Settlement. In August he would assume charge of the Church of England parish at Panmure. By way of thanks, he was presented with a cigarette case by the president of the local branch, Mr Bugg.
Werribee Shire Banner, 9 July 1925, p.6.
The family's Werribee South irrigation block, a three roomed house, livestock and machinery were put up for auction on 18 July 1925.
Werribee Shire Banner, 16 July 1925, p.5.
Frederick sold his Lots 27 and 27A in late 1925, to Samuel Mealor. On his application to transfer the land, Frederick stated that he entered the Ministry of the Church of England, and that he was then living at The Vicarage in Panmure, Victoria.
The Australian Electoral Roll for 1925 records Frederick Edgar Henry Tolhurst, and his wife Rose Tolhurst. Frederick was a Clergyman living at Panmure, and Rose was home duties.
ancestry.com - Electoral Rolls
He was created a deacon of the Church of England, at an ordination service, held at Ballarat on 12 June 1927.
Werribee Shire Banner, 9 June 1927, p.3.
In 1931, Frederick and Rose were living at Woodend, where he was a clergyman.
ancestry.com - Electoral Roll
Frederick was then a clergyman in Eltham and, sadly whilst here, his young son took ill and passed away.
The family had relocated to Lilydale by 1936, where he was still a clergyman.
ancestry.com - Electoral Roll
Here in Lilydale, he proved to be a popular local minister, becoming an active member of the local branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A. Frederick served as Secretary/Treasurer in 1938 and President in 1939.
Before the Second World War he travelled to Nauru and Ocean Island in the Pacific.
When he left the area, it was said at his farewell that ‘his eight years’ work among the soldiers was appraised at a high level by the men who had worked under and with him, friendliness lurked in every spoken word’.
In 1940, he was moved to Albert Park and was here until 1953 when he became the minister at Surrey Hills.
By 1949, the family comprising of Frederick and Rose Tolhurst, along with Frances Winifred, Kenneth Adolphus, and Walter Frederick Tolhurst, were living at The Vicarage in Madden Street, Albert Park, Melbourne.
ancestry.com - Electoral Roll
The last record in the Electoral Roll was in 1954, when just Frederick and Rose Tolhurst were still living at The Vicarage in Madden Street, Albert Park, Melbourne.
ancestry.com - Electoral Roll
The Rev Frederick Edgar Tolhurst died in 1957 at Heidelberg Hospital, and was cremated at Saint Helena, Banyule City, Victoria, Australia.
ancestry.com - Australia Death Index 1787-1985
His headstone reads:
"In Loving Memory of
FREDERICK EDGAR HENRY TOLHURST
Vicar of this Parish
and his loved wife
In God's Care."
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star No.12243
- Victory Medal No.16349
- British War Medal No.16451
Frederick's name never appeared in the Werribee Shire Banner’s Roll of Honor
* ancestry.com - England & Wales Birth Index
** ancestry.com - From death certificate
*** ancestry.com - UK, Outward Passenger List
**** ancestry.com - England Civil Registration Marriage Index
Unit War Diary
Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Great War Index 1914-1920 CD
Marriage Index 1921-1942 CD