Stories


If you have ancestors that were involved in World War One in any way we would like to hear their story! The collective experience of our ANZACs has been well documented, and their Great War experiences are formative elements of Australia's history. Every household and every community across Australia was touched by the Great War and many of the experiences were universal. The experiences of individuals, especially individual ANZACs, are incredibly valuable and we hope to preserve them. We hope to collect individual accounts, images and memorabilia that document the experiences of Fremantle men in World War One and/or the town during wartime.

To contribute a story, photographs, or memorabilia, you can visit the Fremantle History Centre inside Fremantle's City Library or you can make a submission online by clicking on 'submit your story here' below, and we will contact you for further information.


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No.2845 – Private Richard Forrest – 12th Battalion AIF

After arriving in Egypt in November, the men would have been expecting to be sent on to Gallipoli, however with plans afoot to evacuate the peninsula; they were instead kept in the AIF Infantry Depot in Egypt.
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No.1875 – Lieutenant Andrew Henry (Danny) Duke – 8th Battery 3 Field Artillery Brigade AIF

Andrew Henry (Danny) Duke was a professional soldier, having served in the Royal Horse Artillery in Britain and India before arriving in Fremantle, Western Australia, in April 1913. He enlisted in the 1st AIF in the first weeks of its formation at Black Boy Hill Camp, embarking for active service on HMAT Medic at Fremantle as a Gunner and member of 8th Battery 3 FAB on 31 October 1914, aged 26. He served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front and was decorated for bravery, being awarded the Belgian "Croix de Guerre" by His Majesty the King of the Belgians. 

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No.4971 – Ross Edward Rummer – 16th Battalion AIF

His enlistment records, completed on 6 February 1916, show that Ross was 22 years of age, single, 5ft 9in and his occupation was listed as grocer. He was described as of light complexion with brown eyes and black hair. His religious denomination was recorded as the Church of England.
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No.3005 – Lance Corporal Fisher Beard – 3rd Pioneer Battalion AIF

 Fisher Beard, served in World War One before serving, for a brief time, as a Fremantle City Councillor.
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No.630 – CQMS Herbert William Hancock – 2nd Battalion AIF

Herbert William Hancock was born in Sydney New South Wales in 1887 to Thomas and Elizabeth Hancock. The family soon moved across to Western Australia and took up residence in Holland Street Fremantle. Herbert was educated at Fremantle State School and after leaving took up work as a boat builder and later as a Water Policeman.
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No.470 – Sergeant Phillip James Ball MM – 44th Battalion

Phillip James Ball was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England in 1896 to Henry George & Emily Ball. Perhaps because of his father’s previous connection to Australia or because he had a sister living in Western Australia, Phillip left England for Australia in 1913. After arriving in Western Australia he took up residence with his sister, Mrs Emily Smith of 104 Mandurah Rd, South Fremantle. He soon joined the local 86th Militia and was well drilled in military matters when he enlisted into the AIF on 11 January 1916. As he was only 19 Phillip needed the consent of his parents or guardian. As his parents were in England, his sister Emily signed the consent forms.

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Albert James Anderson - the youngest member of the 849

Albert James Anderson was one of the youngest in Australia to enlist into the AIF – he was just 15 years old when he first attempted to enlist.
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Cusack Brothers

Robert and Anne Cusack of 110 Holland Street, Fremantle, had seventeen children in all, though only 13 lived past infancy. Five of their sons served in World War One and fortunately, all survived the experience despite various wounds and periods of hospitalisation.
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More of Walter Bentley Jackson's story: Postcards home

Walter Bentley Jackson was living at 92 Watkins Street, South Fremantle when he enlisted on 21 June 1915 and went to war with the 3rd reinforcement of the 28th Battalion. While away at war, ‘Wally’ as he called himself, sent postcards home to his father Charles Jackson and his sister Melva Jackson. Melva preserved these postcards.
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No.5895 – Private William Henry Walter

William Henry Walter will always be remembered by his surviving daughter Shirley and her husband Harry, grand children, great grandchildren and extended family as a very honest man, who was always willing to give someone a helping hand if they needed it. They are so proud of his selflessness and desire to make things better through his tireless service to his family, local community, state and country in times of both war and peace. 
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No.497 – Sergeant Frank Seccombe – 11th Battalion AIF

In 1914 he married Sarah Rose Doyle in Fremantle and they would take up residence in Grey Street South Fremantle. Their married life was cut short by the Great War as Frank was one of the early enlistees, presenting himself at the Fremantle Drill Hall on the 14th August 1914.
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No.2057 – Private George Walter – 16th Battalion AIF

George was born and educated in North Fremantle and became a labourer on leaving school. He enlisted at the North Fremantle Town Hall on 15 February 1915 just three days after his brother Arthur had signed up. George was 19 and Arthur 21. They both trained at Blackboy Hill Camp in Greenmount for 3 months where they were drilled in armed and unarmed combat, rifle and bayonet warfare.
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No.3913 – Private James Seeary – 51st Battalion AIF

On 29 May 1917, Jim went to the Fremantle Drill Hall where he successfully applied to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Upon his successful enlistment, Jim was sent to Blackboy Hill Camp where he was initially assigned to the 26th reinforcements to the 16th battalion. He remained with this group until 6 June when he was transferred to the 12th reinforcements to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. He had over two months with this group but on 16 August he was transferred to the 13th reinforcements to the 2nd Pioneers. Another six weeks was spent with this group until, on 3 October 1917, he was transferred to the 11th reinforcements to the 51st Battalion.
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Wheeler Brothers

Originally from Warrugul in Victoria, Ernie & Annie Wheeler moved the family to Western Australia, taking up residence in 1901 at Mandurah Road South Fremantle. A large family, the eldest sister Helen Ethel Wheeler, married Walter Ware, brother of William Ware, the founder of Mills & Ware.
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Lieutenant Arthur Collins Loveday – 28th Battalion AIF

Arthur enlisted on 13 February 1916, and his services being accepted he went into camp at Blackboy Hill. After initial training he was assigned to the 12th Reinforcements for the 28th Battalion. This group left Fremantle bound for Europe on 17 April 1916 aboard the ship HMAT Aeneas. Many families were on hand to see their loved ones depart and the Loveday family were no exception.
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Lieutenant John George Cosson DCM – 48th Battalion AIF

On 8 May 1915 John went to the recruiting office in Perth and offered his services to the AIF. At this time John was actually 49 years of age which was four years over the recruiting limit of 45. However he told the Medical Officer who examined him that he was 44.
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No.1172 – Private John James Harrison – 10th Light Horse Regiment

On the 16th June 1915 John enlisted into the AIF at the Perth Drill Hall. He was accepted as fit and found to be 5 feet 9 & ½ inches tall; weight of 146 lbs; chest measurement of 35-37 inches; fair complexion; grey eyes and Brown hair. His religious denomination was Wesleyan. John was assigned to the 8th Reinforcements to the 10th Light Horse Regiment with the regimental no.1172.
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No.418 – Trooper Robert Harrison – 10th Light Horse Regiment

Robert enlisted into the AIF on 19 October 1914. Robert was assigned to "C” Squadron of the 10th Light Horse Regiment with the regimental no.418. He trained with them in WA until 17 February 1915 when they boarded the HMAT Surada in Fremantle Harbour and set sail overseas.
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No.2999 – Trooper Alfred Ernest Harrison – 10th Light Horse Regiment

Robert Harrison was the first of the brothers to enlist but unfortunately he died of wounds received in the Gallipoli campaign; while John Harrison enlisted in June 1915. Alfred enlisted a few months later on 3 March 1916.
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No.1728 – Private Robert George Coombs – 11th Battalion AIF

Robert was 39 years old when he went to the recruitment office in Perth on 13 January 1915 to enlist in the AIF. After a month in the Depot Company, Robert was allotted of the 4th Reinforcements to the 11th Battalion AIF on 16 February 1915. This group trained in WA until 19 April 1915 when they embarked from Fremantle Harbour aboard the HMAT Argyllshire
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Lieutenant Walter Bentley Jackson – 28th Battalion AIF

Walter Bentley Jackson was born in Moonta South Australia in 1893 to Charles and Elizabeth Jackson. The family soon moved to WA, initially taking up residence in Bunbury and then Fremantle.
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No.5350 – Private Bevil Bernard James Edwards – 28th Battalion AIF

On the 1st March 1916 aged just 18 Bevil went to the Fremantle Drill Hall to enlist in the AIF. With the signed permission from his parents Bevil was given a fitness test and was accepted for service. 
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No.3008 – Frederick Henry Wallwork

Frederick Henry Wallwork enlisted for war on 14 July 1916. He enlisted as a private, recording his age as 18 and 4 months, his occupation as clerk, his marital status as single, his address as 120 Watkins Street in White Gum Valley and his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Jeannie Wallwork of the same address. All of these details were accurate – except for his age. He had lied to be eligible to enlist, but was in fact, 16 years old. 
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Caledonian Soccer Club

Twenty-seven players and officials from the Caledonian Soccer Club (many of them from Fremantle) enlisted in World War One and of these, eight did not return. 
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No.3310 – Private Ivor Bevan Rhys – 5th Pioneer Battalion AIF

Ivor Bevan Rhys was born in 1897 in Ballarat, Victoria to Theodore Tudor Rhys and Annie Rhys. In 1911 the family relocated from the Goldfields to 162 Ellen Street, Fremantle, not far from Samson House. It was on 14 June 1916 in Fremantle that Ivor Bevan Rhys enlisted into the 8th reinforcement of the 5th Pioneers. At 19 years and 3 months (ie. under 21 years of age at the time that he enlisted), Ivor had to seek the consent of his parents to be permitted to serve. 


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No.3164 – Private Francis Michael Kelly – 28th Battalion AIF

Francis "Frank” Michael Kelly enlisted 8 September 1915 at 38 years of age. Frank was the 3rd son of Michael and Ann Kelly and while he was born in Victoria, he resided in Fremantle with his wife in later years. 
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No.3901 – Samuel Thomas Podger – 51st Battalion AIF

In 1911, at 20 years of age, Sam joined the 11th Infantry Battalion in which he did a three year stint as a volunteer. On 20 November 1915, Sam once again signed up with the military but this time he joined the 9th reinforcement of the 28th Battalion
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No.1728 – William Humphrey Hicks – 28th Battalion AIF

William "Bill” Humphrey Hicks (junior) was 20 years old when he was killed in action on Thursday 4 October 1917 in Belgium in the attack upon Zonnebeke.
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No.456 – Private John Albert Woods – 16th Infantry Battalion AIF

At 21 years of age, John Albert Woods enlisted for war, registering himself as single; a labourer; and, belonging to the Church of England. He recorded his father, Samuel Woods of Midland Junction, as his next of kin. The family are known to have lived at 112 South Street, South Fremantle. 
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No.2016 – Private George Ackland – 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (ex Dragoon Guards)

George was the son of Thomas and Mary Ackland of Newdigate Surrey England, having been born on the 16th June 1886, the youngest of five children. After completing his education George became a horse driver, though he soon joined the permanent army, serving with the 2nd Dragoon Guards.
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Signalman Thomas Touchell – Royal Australian Navy

Thomas Daniel Touchell was born in Fremantle WA on the 18th July 1899 to Thomas and Lucy Touchell. He was educated in Fremantle and during this time he began his association with the Naval Cadets. He remained with the cadets for several years and even participated in their rifle competitions for the WA Naval Cadets around Australia and was part of a winning team in 1916/17.
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No.1646 – Private Cornelius Townsend – 11th Battalion AIF

Cornelius John Townsend was born in Fremantle WA in 1891 to William and Edith Townsend. It is unclear when Cornelius left Fremantle and joined the family in Broome but it was here on the 9th November 1914 that he enlisted in the AIF. Cornelius was found to be fit for service with the medical examiner stating that he was 5 feet 6 & ½ inches tall; weight of 145lbs; chest measurement of 35-37 inches; fair complexion; greyish blue eyes and brown hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic.
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No.3139 – Private James Cowan – 48th Battalion AIF

James Cowan enlisted in early 1916 and was at Blackboy Hill Camp for 33 days but on account of his Father’s death he was released from service to assist his family. However in November 1916 he again offered his services and was accepted into the AIF, whereupon he embarked on more training at Blackboy Hill camp.
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No.7232 – Private John Osborne Culver – 11th Battalion AIF

John Osborne Culver (Jack to his family) was originally a native of South Bundalong, Victoria. He was one of five children to Robert James Culver and Jane Culver (nee Gow). They resided at 56 Chester Street, South Fremantle. He enlisted in the AIF on 5 October, entering service just weeks later on 14 November 1916.
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No.495 - Griffith John Owen - 28th Battalion AIF

Bible saved Digger from early grave! Mr Owen, of East Fremantle, had landed at Gallipoli in September 1915 as a member of the 28th Battalion and later wrote about his miraculous escape.
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No.6124 – Private Charles Fordham – 16th Battalion AIF

Charles Edmund Fordham was born in East Fremantle WA in 1898 to Charles and Jane Fordham. He was one of three children, with the family living at "Invernay” View Terrace East Fremantle. Charlie was educated at Christian Brothers College Fremantle during which time he was also a member of the 86A Cadets of the Citizen Military Forces. When he was fourteen years old he began employment with D & J Fowler as a Clerk and worked for them for the next four years.
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Wilson Brothers

With the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, both boys continued with their careers, and being under 21 years of age, both would have needed their parent’s permission to enlist. On the 25th March 1916, Peter, just three months past his 22nd birthday, went to the Francis Street Drill Hall in Perth to enlist. 
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Events

Events

The City of Fremantle will be participating in, supporting, and hosting a number of events over the commemorative period. The people of Fremantle (including the greater Fremantle area) are proud to be part of the ANZAC Centenary commemorations and to have the opportunity to honour and pay respect to those who have and are serving our nation as part of the Armed Forces. ANZAC Centenary events will embrace the themes: 'Commemorate, Contemplate and Educate'.
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The 849

The 849

Eight hundred and forty-nine is the number of servicemen who lived in the greater Fremantle area, embarked in Fremantle on transport ships that would take them to far away fields, and they are the ones that never returned. You can view the list here. If you would like to make comment about the list please contact 9432 9999 or email events@fremantle.wa.gov.au.
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News

News

Over the ANZAC Centenary period, the City of Fremantle has and will host or support a number of tributes and events related to our city's war veterans. Read our news stories to find out how these events came together through text and photographs.
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