Frederick Dudley Weedon OATLEY

OATLEY, Frederick Dudley Weedon

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 November 1914
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 56th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 8 November 1884
Home Town: Cooma, Cooma-Monaro, New South Wales
Schooling: Sydney Church of England Grammar, (Shore) New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Gangrene, Hydatid on the lung, Gas Poisoning , Sydney, New South Wales, Australia , 28 March 1919, aged 34 years
Cemetery: Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, New South Wales
CofE Row 14
Memorials: Baulkham Hills William Thompson Masonic School War Memorial, Northbridge (Shore) Sydney Church of England Grammar School Memorial Cricket Ground Roll of Honour, Sydney Grammar School WW1 Honour Board, Sydney United Grand Lodge Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

1 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Major, 6th Light Horse Regiment
21 Dec 1914: Involvement Major, 6th Light Horse Regiment
21 Dec 1914: Embarked Major, 6th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Suevic, Sydney
8 Jul 1916: Involvement Major, 6th Light Horse Regiment
8 Jul 1916: Embarked Major, 6th Light Horse Regiment, RMS Mongolia, Sydney
28 Mar 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, Officer, 56th Infantry Battalion

Short Biography done for Shore School

Frederick Dudley Weedon Oatley was born on the 8 Nov 1884 at Double Bay in Sydney. He was directly descended (great grandson) from James Oatley the convict settler and clockmaker. The Sydney suburb of Oatley bears the family name. The son of Frederick Augustus Oatley, a grazier, he spent his early years on his father’s station, at King’s School and Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) and entered Sydney University in 1903, going into residence at St Paul’s College. He studied Arts and Medicine for four and half years.
After marriage to Andree Adelaide Kaeppel in 1908 he decided to abandon Medicine and go back to the land. In 1909 he bought the station at Umeralla, near Cooma, and he remained there until the outbreak of the war.
He joined the AIF on 1 Nov 1914 and was appointed Captain in the 6th Light Horse Regiment. He gained his majority on the 16 Dec 1914 and embarked for the Middle East on 21 December. After a while in Egypt he proceeded to the Gallipoli Peninsular on 15 May 1915 less than three weeks after the landing. Here he was continuously under shell fire until invalidated sick with enteric and dysentery a month before the evacuation. He proceeded to Cairo, London and then Australia in early 1916 but returned to Egypt in July 1916 and volunteered for infantry service in France.
He served briefly in the 25th Battalion a then was taken on strength of the 54th Battalion where he served as second in command and temporary commander. This service included the Battle of Bullecourt. He later completed a brilliant course at Senior Officer’s School at Aldershot and was transferred to be Commanding officer of the 56th Battalion with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on the 3rd of March 1918. His period of command coincided in time and place with the last great German offensive of the war. In the middle of this offensive ‘in the 56th which now came into the line, Lieutenant Colonel Oatley, trying to stay at his posy until the 24th April’ was severely injured and gassed at Villers Bretonneux. It was here that the AIF helped stem the last great German offensive and it is the village that still commemorates every year the sacrifices of Austral in the war of 1914-18.
After evacuation, he eventually embarked for Australia, and although he appeared to have recovered, complications eventually brought about his death on the 28 March 1919 at the age of thirty five. He was buried with full military honours the funeral being at St Johns Darlinghurst.
FDW Oatley is commemorated in Shore Chapel, where his sword is displayed, and in the NSW garden of Remembrance, Wall 28, Row 4. Medals issued included the 194/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Anzac Medal and Anzac Commemorative Medallion.
Frederick Dudley Weedon Oatley left a wife, two sons and a daughter on his death. Both his sons and their sons attended Shore maintaining three generations of tradition.

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