No.3008 – Frederick Henry Wallwork


It [the death of Frederick Henry Wallwork, beloved son and brother] almost killed my poor mother   

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. 

Wallwork's records also show that he served as a Naval Cadet for 4 years.  

He departed Fremantle, his place of birth, on the Argyllshire on 9 November 1916 and arrived in Devonport on 10 January 1917. In October 1917, Wallwork is recorded as having been wounded in action, receiving a bullet wound to the toe. 

Wallwork was enlisted into the 51st Battalion and remained with them for the majority of his war service but at the time of his death was recorded as reporting to the 4th Machine Gun Battalion.

He died on 25 April 1918 in France and rests in Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux. His age at death was recorded as 20 years, but we know that he was in fact 18 or 19 because he lied about his age. 

Following Wallwork's death, his family received a dead man's penny, and still holds it dear today despite the fact that it is a sad reminder of what they lost.

 

 

In 2006, just before ANZAC Day, the enduring grief of the Wallwork family was reported on in the Sunday Times. Brad Quartermaine reports:

Just six years old, little Frances Doust did not know [if] she would ever see her big brother again when she waved him goodbye 90 years ago.

Frederick Henry Wallwork, from White Gum valley, lied about his age to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916, and lost his life as a private fighting for king and country.

By morbid coincidence, he was killed on ANZAC Day, 1918 – the teenager's ultimate sacrifice in France coming exactly three years after Australia's ANZAC legend was forged at Gallipoli. 

Mrs Doust, 95, is one of WA's last living links to World War I.

With the anniversary of his death this week, Mr Wallwork's little sister still recalls his emotional farewell. 

"I remember him going to away and everybody crying," she said. "I was very young."

Mrs Doust said that the death of Mr Wallwork, the eldest of four children, hit the family hard. 

She began to fully comprehend the tragedy only as she grew older. 

"It nearly killed my poor mother," she said. "I wasn't old enough really to understand."

The young Digger was part of the 4th Machine Gun Battalion and was killed on landing at Villers-Bretonneux, France, during the recapture of the village from the Germans. 

His age at death was officially recorded as 20, but it is understood he was only 18 or 19, having submitted a false birthdate on enlisting. 

The teenage clerk enlisted in July 1916.

He was initially in the 51st Battalion and was wounded during the Third Battle of Ypres in September 1917. 

He attended Fremantle Boys School and was a naval cadet.

Mr Wallwork's nephew, Frederick Wallwork, was named in honour of his fallen uncle.

Mr Wallwork said he had enormous respect for his namesake's courage. 

"It's very hard to imagine what they went through back in those days," he said.

"All the young blokes wanted to go off and (putting their age up) was what they did."

Mr Wallwork's niece, Helen Martin, said the fact he put his age up added to his family's grief. 

"I think that was the tragedy," she said.

"He was a very much loved son."

Mr Wallwork's mother visited her son's grave in France several years after his death. 

See below, a copy of the article recounted above as well as a picture of Frances Wallwork in her youth.

 

  

Here, too, are pictures of Frederick Henry Wallwork's resting place in Villers-Bretonneux and his visiting nephew Frederick Wallwork. 

 

 

Many thanks to Helen Martin, niece of Frederick Henry Wallwork, for these images and the story of her uncle. 



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