Frederick William Norman WRIGHT


WRIGHT, Frederick William Norman

Service Number: 3463
Enlisted: 2 August 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, Australia, 1886
Home Town: Kangaroo Valley, Shoalhaven Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: Kangaroo Valley Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Bushman
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 27 October 1917
Cemetery: Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kangaroo Valley War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

2 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3463, Liverpool, New South Wales
2 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3463, 2nd Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '7' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Euripides embarkation_ship_number: A14 public_note: ''
2 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3463, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Jul 1916: Wounded SN 3463, Battle for Pozières , Wounded in the leg by a shell burst.
29 Oct 1916: Wounded SN 3463, Flers/Gueudecourt, Wounded in both legs by a shell burst at Flers. Hospitalised to July 1917.
27 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 3463, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 2nd Passchendaele

Sportsman and Soldier

Fred Wright was the son of William and (late) Isabella Wright of "River View" Kangaroo Valley NSW. He was 29 years of age at enlistment.
He had made several attempts to enlist, the first occasion likely on 23 April 1915 along with his brother Tom. Tom was accepted but Fred was rejected on the grounds of varicose veins. He underwent treatment on his legs and was accepted on 2 August 1915 along with half the Kangaroo Valley rugby football team. He listed his occupation as a bushman.
Fred was an exceptional sportsman playing rugby league as a second row in winter, and cricket in summer. He made district representative in rugby league and was noted for his skill as a rifle marksman. At the 1914 Kangaroo Valley Show he even tried his hand at wood chop but was narrowly beaten into second place.
Assigned to the 2nd Battalion B Company he embarked at Sydney on the HMAT Euripides on 2 November 1915 and was seasick for most of the 6 week voyage to Egypt. He dreaded the next voyage to England but the Mediterranean Sea was fortunately calmer. He had boarded at Sydney in the knowledge that his younger brother Thomas was "missing" at Gallipoli.
Landing in France in March 1916 Fred was taken into the field and first faced action at the Battle of Pozieres 23-26 July. In the fighting for three days he was wounded in the left thigh by a shell burst and hospitalised until September. His mate from Kangaroo Valley Pte. William Mathers was wounded also.
When he returned to the frontline he then encountered the worst European winter in 40 years, writing home .. "The last place we were in (mud) up to our knees. We were in it for six days".
In the trenches at Flers France in October 1916 he was again wounded in the legs by shellfire. Evacuated to England his recovery was slow with retained foreign material (metal and bone fragments) causing problems. He wrote home ..
"When they are syringing my (left) leg it goes in one side and out the other straight through my leg."
After recuperation and some training he was back in the field in October 1917 at Passchendaele Belgium as the British made preparations for that disastrous attack.
On 27 October, Fred now acting orderly sergeant, was in his tent relating his orders when a German Gotha bomber attracted by a number of open fires in the camp (contrary to rules) dropped a bomb into the tent.
It was horrendous. He and 11 others were killed, many instantly. 14 others wounded. Fred was evacuated to the First Aid Station but died overnight.
Fred Wright is buried in the beautiful Belgium Battery Corner Cemetery outside Ypres (see image). The gravestones of those killed that evening are set close together, indicating that their individual remains were difficult to identify.
On hearing the news of his death Fred's fiancée Ethel Bebbington left the Valley and moved to Sydney. It was said that she never married.

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