22 October 1917

The mere fact that you are the only son of your parents should not prevent you from joining the AIF…act the manly part and join your friends at the front.

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Frederick Augustus Taylor

Frederick Augustus Taylor was born in Cudal in 1889. His parents William Taylor and Mary Jane Anderson were married in Orange in 1879; their first son, Henry Arthur (Harry) was born in 1881, and their second, Sydney Thomas, in 1883. A daughter, Jessie May followed in 1896. William was a popular and well-respected publican in Cudal; the long-time proprietor of the Tattersall’s Hotel.

In 1913 Frederick purchased Mehruda, a 4,000 acre property between Molong and Wellington and where he went on to graze sheep and cattle and to raise crops.

When Fred was 25 he travelled to Goulburn and enlisted in WWI. He was assigned to the Medium Trench Mortar Battery Reinforcement 2 as a gunner. He embarked HMAT A60 Aeneas in Sydney on 30 September 1916, arriving in Plymouth on 19 November 1916. Fred underwent further training at the Australian Army Training Depot in Parkhouse and later at Larkhill on the Salisbury Plain.

In April 1917 Gunner Taylor proceeded to France, where he was taken on strength as a driver with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade. In mid-October the brigade saw action in the Westouvre area of Belgium. The brigade’s unit diary for 19 October 1917 states:

Owing to bad state of roads and heavy shelling the Batteries experienced considerable difficulty in moving into position.

Three days later, on 21 October 1917, Frederick was killed in action. There is no entry for that day in the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade’s diary, however the very first entry on the list of casualties for the week ending 28 October is:

Driver FA Taylor, killed in action, 21 October 1917

When he enlisted Frederick nominated his mother Mary as his next of kin, and in January 1918 she received a small parcel containing his personal effects: his identity disc, two wallets, a French book, letters, photographs, his unit colours and two blank drafts. In accordance with army protocol Frederick’s war medals were forwarded to his father.

Frederick Augustus Taylor is commemorated on the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates, the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 13 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

[Frederick’s brother Harry was a partner in the successful auctioneering firm of Bedford, Taylor and Weston Ltd. A noted philanthropist, he awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth during her 1954 tour of Australia.]

Cudal and District War Memorial Gates. Image courtesy Anthony Stavely-Alexander.

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21 October 1917

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John Thomas Fearish

John Thomas Fearish. Image courtesy australianroyalty.net.au

John Thomas Fearish had a relatively short military career; he enlisted in November 1916 and died less than a year later from wounds received on the Western Front.

John was born in Orange in 1882, the fifth of eight children born to English immigrant William Fearish and Bathurst born Bridget Mary Fogarty. The family relocated to Surry Hills in Sydney, where John attended Marist Brothers School.

In October 1903 John’s father William was working as a bricklayer’s labourer when he was killed by a falling brick. John’s mother died seven years later from a cerebral haemorrhage.
When 34 year old John enlisted in November 1916 he nominated his sister Catherine as his next of kin. Private Fearish was assigned to the 1st Pioneer Battalion, 9th Reinforcements. He embarked from Sydney on 24 January 1917 and arrived in Devonport in 27 March 1917.

Less than a month later John was admitted to Fovant Military Hospital with bronchial pneumonia. He was discharged to the Pioneer Training Battalion in late May and proceeded to France on 25 September where he was taken on strength with the 45th Battalion.

On 20 October 1917 John was hit by a shell, sustaining multiple fractures to his arms and legs plus wounds to the face and groin. He was transported to the nearby dressing station where he died a few hours later.

In May 1921 the Base Records Office wrote to John’s sister Catherine to say:

Upon enlistment the late soldier recorded you as next of kin, but it has been ascertained that he has a brother living, Mr W Fearish of Weston…and I shall be obliged to if you will advise me whether there are any reasons why the War medals should not go to him.

Catherine replied:

Upon enlistment my brother recorded me next of kin. My Brother lived with me since My Mother’s Death. When my Brother got killed I lost the only one I loved and who loved me in the Family. John and I were true Friends. I pray you grant me this Medal in honour of My Brother so I may keep it in love and memory until I die and when I die I will give it to William Fearish of Weston.

In July 1921 the Office wrote to John’s older brother William to ask if he had any objection to Catherine receiving John’s war medals:

[Catherine] was nominated as next of kin and seems to have distinct moral claims to the mementos.

William failed to reply, but it was not until December 1922 that Catherine received John’s war medals and memorial plaque.

John Thomas Fearish is commemorated on panel 27 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium and on panel number 139 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

John’s cousin Sidney John Fogarty also served in WWI; he was killed in action at Warlencourt in France on 14 November 1916.

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20 October 1917

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19 October 1917

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17 October 1917

You have made a great gift to the Empire…and now it devolves upon you to rouse these other mothers up to a sense of their duty. You have given yours, and it lies in your hands to a great extent to see that other mothers do likewise.

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16 October 1917

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15 October 1917

Mata Hari performing in Paris in 1905. Image in public domain.

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14 October 1917

HMAS Yarra. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

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