Andrew Donald Graham (Don) FRASER

FRASER, Andrew Donald Graham

Service Number: 5369
Enlisted: 3 January 1916, Rockhampton, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Rockhampton, Queensland, 20 January 1898
Home Town: Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Allenstown State School
Occupation: Railway Porter
Died: Killed in Action, Mouquet Farm, France, 21 August 1916, aged 18 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gracemere Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

3 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 5369, Rockhampton, Queensland
20 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5369, 9th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 5369, 9th Infantry Battalion, SS Hawkes Bay, Sydney
21 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5369, 9th Infantry Battalion, Mouquet Farm

Fraser Brothers of Nicholson St Rockhampton

Mr and Mrs Fraser of Nicholson St, Rockhampton had two sons killed in the First World War. Twenty-two-year-old Robert Fraser was an engine fitter at Burns and Twigg when he enlisted in the AIF on 19 August 1914 just days after Australia’s entry into the First World War. Military life was not new to Robert Fraser as he had spent three years in the Senior Cadets and four years in the Port Curtis Infantry when he enlisted. He left Australia on the SS Omrah a month later 24 September 1914. Lance Corporal Fraser was in the 9th Battalion which was among the first troops ashore at Gallipoli on Anzac Day. His official file shows that he was killed on 2 May 1915 but several letters from his mother state the date that he was killed as 25 April, which would have made him one of the first Australians to be killed in this four-year war. Even if 2 May is the correct date, Robert Fraser’s war was tragically short.
Robert’s younger brother, 18-year-old Andrew, enlisted in the AIF, also in the 9th Battalion, on 2 January 1916. Andrew had also served 4 years in the compulsory cadet scheme. He left Australia on 20 April 1916 and arrived at the huge Australian camps in Alexandria in late May. In July he was with the 9th Battalion in the field. On the 19th of August the 9th Battalion received orders for the ongoing Battle for Mouquet Farm as part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade. This action continued for 4 days from 19 to 23 August. During this time the 9th Battalion lost 27 officers and men killed, 125 wounded and 12 men missing. Andrew Fraser was one of the twelve men missing. Andrew was declared killed in action by a Court of Enquiry almost a year later in July 1917. Like his brother Robert, Andrew was killed in his first action of the war, but his parents had to endure the agony of the small glimmer of hope that he was still alive for almost a year.
The family’s grief can be seen through the letters that the brothers’ mother, Mary, wrote to the military authorities.
“Nov 8th 1916. Sir, On Oct 7th I received a telegram from you stating that my son No. 5369 Private A.D.G. Fraser 9th Battalion C Coy, was wounded. I cabled Mrs Wheeler in London and after four weeks looking for him, she cabled back that he was feared missing. If I knew that he was in hospital & progressing I would be content to wait till I heard from himself. Trusting you will be able to advise me about him. I remain, Yours faithfully, Mary Fraser.”
“24/5/17. Sir, I hope you will excuse me troubling you, but I would like to know if you have any more information concerning my son, Pte A.D.G. Fraser, No. 5369 9th Battalion A.I.F. who was reported missing on Aug 21st 1916, previously reported wounded. As news has come through of so many that were missing in August there may be some word of him, even the worst would be better than the suspense. Yours respectfully, Mary Fraser. “
And this enquiry about the grave of the older brother Robert. “ March 10th 1922. Sir, As some of the mothers have received postcards of there (sic) boys graves in France I was wondering if photos were taken of the boys that fell at Gallipoli. My boy 817 Lance-Corporal A.R. Fraser 9th Battalion was killed 25th April 1915. I would like to have a photo of his grave if it were possible. I remain, Yours sincerely, Mary Fraser.”
The final resting places of both Robert and Andrew Fraser remain unknown. Robert is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli and Andrew’s name is on the panels of the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. Rest In Peace Brothers-in-Arms.
Mary Fraser, presumably along with her husband Andrew, attended the Civic Reception at the Rockhampton School of Arts on 7 March 1919 to honour the families who had lost their sons in the Great War.

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Biography

"News has just come to hand that Private A. D. G. Fraser (Don), son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Fraser, Nicholson-street, has been wounded in France. He is a brother of Lance-corporal R. R. Fraser, who was killed at the landing in Gallipoli." - from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin 09 Oct 1916 (nla.gov.au)