Frederick William GAGE

Badge Number: S8858, Sub Branch: State

GAGE, Frederick William

Service Number: 1715
Enlisted: 1 March 1915, Keswick South Australia Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd Machine Gun Battalion
Born: Kensington South Australia Australia, 13 March 1898
Home Town: Rosewater (Greytown), Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Blacksmith
Died: Circumstances of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: AIF Cemetery, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
Memorials: Rosewater Womens Memorial Roll of Honour WW1
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World War 1 Service

1 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick South Australia Australia
24 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT Kanowna
15 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1715, 27th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
4 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1715, 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1715, 27th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
23 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1715, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"
9 Apr 1920: Discharged AIF WW1

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Main image extract of SA State records image in slideshow.

Surname: GAGE; Given Names: Frederick William; Date of Birth: 13 March 1898; Date of Enlistment: 1 March 1915; Trade or Calling: Blacksmith; Birth Location: Kensington; Address prior to enlistment: Rosewater; Photograph sent by: Mrs Gage
35 Gilles ST Adelaide formerly William ST Rosewater Source: State Records SA

Frederick William Gage had just turned 17 when he enlisted on 1 March 1915. He mis-stated his age at 19 years 2 months. One would have to say that his appearance in his photograph is more consistent with his real age rather than his stated age.  He cites 9 months service in the Senior Cadets prior to enlistment.

His older brother John Richard Samuel Gage ( possessed of equally youthful appearance, had enlisted the previous month.  Their physical resemblance is unmistakeable - both look more like 14 year olds than their actual ages which in Fred's case was still below official enlistment age.

Fred was assigned to the 2nd Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion. His brother John  was also enlisted into the 27th Battalion.

His occupation is stated as "Blacksmith", although given his youth his vocation could just as easily have been 'borrowed' from his father. With those minor 'impediments' aside, he was soon in camp at Mitcham on Adelaide's southern fringe. Fred was allocated to the Second Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion and embarked for Egypt on the 24th of June 1915 on the HMAT Kanowna. He joined 'E' Company of the Battalion.  His older brother John had left with the main body of the 27th Battalion as part of C Company one month earlier.  They would have caught up with one another ion Egypt.

The 27th Battalion was part of the Second Division which formed in Egypt and was destined to reinforce the ANAC Division which had been ashore since 25th April. The 27th landed at ANZAC  on and around the 15th September 1915.  Like many at that time of the campaign he succumbed to illness and was evacuated sick 12 December 1915, just prior to the main evacuation  to Alexandria.  He re-joined the battalion in Egypt and embarked for France and the Western Front.

After a short time in the Armientieres sector, the Second Division had moved to the Somme in June 1916.  The 27th Battalion was committed to a major attack at Pozieres at the Windmill on the 4th August 1916.  Fred was Wounded in Action with a severe gunshot wound to his right leg in this attack. Evacuated through the medical evacuation chain to  Chatham Hospital in the UK, he did not re-join the Battalion until April 1917 but was hospitalised almost immediately with an unspecified ailment..

Second Division then moved into its position for the Third Ypres campaign  from late July 1917.  Fred was Wounded in Action for the second time on 20 September 1917 at the Battle of Menin Road. Evacuated once again to the UK he re-joined the Battalion in December 1917 following Passchendaele.

He is recorded as having been AWL on Christmas and Boxing Day 1917 for which he was awarded 4 days stoppage of pay.  In March he transferred to the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion. He served out he remainder of the war with the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion and served through the German March Offensive and the "Last Hundred Days"  campaign later that year.

After War's end he would have been a high priority for repatriation to Australia, having been a 'Gallipoli man' but it is clear from his records that he had discovered a romantic interest. Frederick William Gage married Florence Kate Bird on 30th July 1919 in Loughton-Bletchley Buckinghamshire in England. They relocated to Australia on the SS Port Napier in December 1919.

In 1967, Florence claimed Fred's Gallipoli Medallion, by which time he had passed away. She was at that time resident at 40 Reid Avenue Tranmere South, a suburb of Adelaide.


Steve Larkins  May 2013